Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mixed Messages

                In my last anthropology class of the semester my teacher had the nerve to end the class with this final message: “No one in this classroom is going to change the world, it’s just not plausible…”  I couldn’t believe he just said that. I’m looking around at my classmates in disbelief why are they nodding their heads, why don’t they have looks of outrage on their faces, why aren’t they telling him he is wrong? Wait, why aren’t I saying anything?!? Finally someone speaks up (I’m ashamed it’s not me) “You don’t know that, you don’t know that someone in this room won’t change the world.” He dismisses her objection, repeating that nothing we could do is going to change the entire world.  I’m quietly fuming (I hate when other people try to stifle the potential of others), this is the future of the world he is talking to! Why is he discouraging us?! I’m sorry…but my dream is to change the world, and I plan on doing just that, and I hope you are around to see it happen sir.
                My mission is still to help the environment and as a result hopefully change the world, but lately I have been doubting the way I’m going about it. My initial thought was that my environmental engineering degree would allow me to create and use all this alternative/renewable energy technology and that is what the world needed. However this evening I went to an environmental activist talk given by Bill McKibben (who wrote one of the first widely read books about global warming The End of Nature also check out his website at Several people who talked, Bill included, talked about getting arrested for standing up and protesting against pipelines, and nuclear power, oil subsidies, you name it and they were put in jail for it. Now I’m definitely not saying I want to go to jail, but these people had passion and were making a difference, I guess. So I guess I’m hung up with the fact that I don’t feel like I’m making a difference, but I have to be patient. But will it be too late?
                Recently I cut out an article from the Asheville Citizen Times to hang on my bulletin board. It’s titled “Skeptic now agrees global warming is real” Here are the first couple sentences “A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures are rising rapidly.” This is about the point in the article where my palm smacked my forehead. This guy and his daughter wasted 2 years of their life and $600,000 to prove that indeed global warming is real. The article has left me speechless, I can’t believe it. I mean really? In those 2 years and with all that money he could have solved so many other problems… I’m keeping the article as a source of inspiration, I like to look at the solemn faces of the old man and his daughter, the looks on their faces as they come to terms with the grim future that lies ahead of us if we don’t do something soon. Don’t worry, I’m working on it! I’m working to be the change I wish to see in the world. (thank you Gandhi)  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The summer after my first year of college has been focused on getting a job and working as much as possible. After filling out 33 applications for jobs in my local area, I finally had two jobs! At both I was earning above minimum wage and working plenty of hours. I was happily baking in a grocery store chain and working in a golf shop at a local country club. All was going well until I had to take a week off to go on a mission trip, long story short, the grocery store refused to give me time off so I quit. Luckily the golf shop was more understanding so at least I still had one job to come back to.
I soon began to realize my job at the country club was loads better than my other job, only problem is I know practically nothing about golf. My job basically consists of answering the phone to book people's tee times and operating the cash register for when people purchase anything from refreshments to shirts to golf lessons. It's all basic customer service and computer operating skills, but it doesn't hurt to know what I'm talking about when people want to buy golf balls that are good for distance. When it comes to golf I know you want to score par or below. I don't know the difference between the clubs, I don't know the rules for if your ball goes into the river, and I certainly don't understand tournaments, but that is what the head golf pro and his assistant are there for. The other part of my job is to keep the members happy, which unfortunately requires me to memorize names and faces. Members like to be greeted by name, they like you to remember when they buy something they get a discount, and they don't like to be kept waiting while you search to put them in the computer when they show up unannounced.
Luckily I work with some pretty awesome people who are always there to whisper someone's name in my ear before they enter etc. The problem is I'm a very independent person. As long as I can remember I've always been the kind of person who has the answer, for everything. I'm that person that is always right, about everything. Except when it comes to golf apparently. This job has been tougher on me then I expected, because let me reiterate I know nothing about golf. I hated answering people's questions with "I don't know" or "I'm not sure let me ask someone else" it killed me. So one day I'm fumbling through someone's question about playing in the Men's league on Wednesday, I'm telling him I think only club members can play or maybe it's only members of the United States Golf Association...we both know I have no idea, but I don't want to interrupt the assistant golf pro because he is busy with someone else. Finally he finishes and sets the man straight. Then I'm alone in the golf shop with the assistant pro and he is strictly lecturing me, suggesting that instead of fumbling my way through a question I should just ask him, he doesn't mind. He'd rather me ask him then have me struggle my way to an answer. Before I know it I'm crying so I take a break. The assistant pro is concerned, he is afraid that him yelling at me has upset me. I try and calm down and explain I'm not mad at him and he didn't make me cry. "Then what is it?" he asks. "I'm crying because I'm so frustrated at myself for not knowing answers and having to ask for help, I'm tired of not understanding golf, " I reply.
Wow, I realize this has been my life. I always know the answers and this is the first time I can remember in my life that I don't have the answer, and I don't like it one bit. The assistant pro has only known me a few weeks at this point but he can already see this quality in me. Not to drag my brother into this but I've always been living up to his perfect standard. He was validvictorian of his class and got a full college scholarship. I was in the top ten of my class and received no scholarships. That doesn't bother me that he beats me in some areas but I don't think my parents see it that way and that is what bothers me.The assistant pro and I discuss all this and more. It leads to more crying and laughing and before I know it we're hugging, we've come to an understanding. I'm a very detailed person and the assistant pro is more about the big picture, working together is difficult but there are areas where each of us excel and can help the other. We now make a joke about that afternoon "Remember that day I made you cry?" he says or I'll joke with him and say "Don't make me cry again." But we both know how important that day was and I'm so thankful for the understanding I gained about myself.
The world of golf and country clubs is entirely different from any world I've ever known, however it's lead me to understand myself more clearly. With more practice I'll learn to answer questions and remember names and faces. It will take some time, but I'm up to the challenge.        

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's that time of the semester. I have no appetite, I can find 1,000 things to do rather than study, I'm not sleeping enough, I'm overwhelmed, feeling nostalgic, and grumpy.  I'm starting to make myself physically ill between the stress and lack of proper nutrition. That's right it's time for finals, every college student knows this feeling all too well. On top of all that studious stuff I have to worry about packing up all my belongings, finding a summer job, and establishing ways to keep in touch with all my new college friends. I just can't wait to get back to normal...whatever that is for me now. Is college normal or is being at home normal?
I just want to get out of the funk I'm feeling this week. Is it only Tuesday?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grades who needs them!?

I'm fed up with grades! I'm sick of everyone's obsession with grades and everyone's obsession over other people's grades. I can't stand it. Whenever I get a big test, exam, or paper back I literally dread seeing the number on the top. Even more than seeing my grade I dread my friend asking me how I did. I feel like the typical reaction of most students is to look at your own grade and then look and ask around to see how others did. I'll admit I used to be guilty of doing this, but I don't want to fall victim to this habit anymore. When I refuse to tell my friends my grade, they start guessing if I did bad or good. I do my best to compose my face to not give anything away, unfortunately I've become rather predictable and my friends have figured out that I usually end up scoring the highest in the class or among the highest. So why does it bother me to tell people what I got if I did so well?
My answer is complicated and when I try to explain my reasoning my friends usually don't understand. The reason is I don't want to change what they think of me. I don't want to become that 'smart' person that people just go to for homework help. Maybe I'm just to humble to take pride in my hard work. They'll tell me to my face they don't care if I got a better grade than them, but I can see it in their face and mannerisms it bothers them, and I hate that. I study really hard, I devote a lot of time to my schoolwork, its all I have. Other kids have jobs, sports, boyfriends and girlfriends, video games, things that distract them, I don't. My point is we're all different, we shouldn't compare how we did to others. If you tried your best that is all that should matter, if you know you didn't study and did poorly, doesn't that make sense?
I was in the Math Lab the other day working on homework with my friends and they ask me how I did on the Calculus II test we just got back. I ask them why does it matter what I got? They give scattered, desperate reasons, they just need to know. It's mind blowing to me that it bothers them that much. They assume I did well, but for some reason they need the specific number. I don't tell them and we continue working, I can tell it's still gnawing at them to know what I got, but I'm not giving in.
Later we reminisce about high school and all of sudden their dropping their GPA's and class rank like it's nobody's business. I can't even recall mine, I know I was in the top 10 rank-wise and had a good GPA, but I didn't feel the need to memorize it. They inquire if I know my current college GPA, I don't. They again recite theirs. Why?! I can't understand why it's so important. What happened to learning, why are we so number obsessed? Bah! I'm beyond frustrated.
I often visit my old youth group and help out, I like to stick around and talk to the kids, and offer them my advice and insight about college. (I'm not pretending to be an expert but I can share my experience) I wish someone had been there for me to ask questions, anyway, so I try to make myself available to these kids. They ask about scholarships and I immediately groan. I mention my beef with scholarships in an earlier blog post. I basically tell them that I received no scholarships even though my grades were exceptional (I got one B all of my life). They immediately begin asking what my GPA was, I tell them I don't remember. I don't, honestly. They seem disappointed.
Reminding myself of the above situation and the earlier post I wrote, I think I can shed some more light on my hatred for grades. In high school I was one of those kids just striving to get that A to keep my record perfect. By the time I earned my first and only B in 11th grade I was disappointed but still hopeful for my future. However I got no scholarships, so apparently my perfect grades weren't worth much. You really should read my earlier post, if you haven't already. Regardless I realized my obsession with grades in high school was pointless, and I don't want that to happen to me again in college.
My good friend who is not in my Calculus class overheard me talking to my calculus classmate about the test (this was after we took it, before we had gotten our grades). I politely told him I didn't want to talk about it, to which my non Calculus classmates pretends to mock me in a high pitched careless voice "I don't want to talk about it, but then I'll get it back and find I got a 100." Ouch, I know he was kidding, but ouch. That is not my attitude at all, I just don't want to talk about it, because then I'll stress out. This is another reason why I hate grades, it makes friends do ugly things.
Later I talk to the friend that imitated me and ask if it would bother him if I got a better score than him on a test, if he would look at me differently. He responded in his usual joking manner that it wouldn't because he knew he was better than me at other things like; golf, pool, and basketball. He then goes on about betting money he could beat me at basketball, which is fine and probably true. Then we get our Chemistry exams back the following day, I receive a near perfect score and he scrapes by with above 50%. The rest of class he hardly jokes around like normal and he won't even smile at me. I talk with him after class, he's upset with how badly he did. I try and comfort him, it's not that bad...only one test. It's no use, I can tell he despises me comforting him because I did so well. True we did study together, but I take notes during class and he doesn't most of the time. I just hate that my success is making him feel that much worse about his own grade.
I haven't even mentioned my Physics class, and I've barely skimmed the surface of the grading problems in Chemistry and Calculus, but I don't think discussing it further is going to help. I don't know what will help at this point. If everyone could just stop stressing the importance of grades...but then I guess that is what college is all about.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


For some reason I've always struggled with relationships of the romantic sort. I'm constantly trying to figure out why I'm 19 years old and have only had one "real" boyfriend, for one month (those elementary boys didn't count). It's frightfully depressing, especially when I see people younger than me and not to be mean but weirder than me in a relationship. I'm decent looking, I'm a little over five feet tall, thin, blonde hair, glasses, acne that is clearing up (FINALLY), and a larger bust (which I hate). I know it's not all about looks, but then what is it? Intelligence? I've got that too, perhaps too much of it. I'm a good person. I go to church, involved in multiple kinds of volunteering, love kids, love laughing, love sarcasm, I'm a very easy person to get along with. I have lots of varied interests; books, travel, cooking, ukulele, uni-cycling.I'm by no means perfect, I'm a neat freak and I stress out about a lot. I can't but thinking if I had someone to share the load with I wouldn't be so stressed though.
The problem as far as I have been able to determine is that I can't get past the "friend" stage with guys. And most of my friends are guys. I get along better with guys because I don't like to talk about feelings and gossip! Two things guys don't do. Growing up with two brothers probably has something to do with this. I always had to play whatever they liked or I'd have to play alone. Therefore I know a thing or two about video games. But is that where I loose out? Do guys want a girl they can play video games with? Or do they want a girl they can teach to play video games? Having that bonding moment, is that what I'm missing. I'm not entirely into playing and watching sports. I hate football. But I can keep up with the worlds of soccer and basketball.
One thing I've noticed is that guys like to pick on me or argue with me. I have very strong opinions and am passionate about certain things like the environment. And my guy friends are constantly poking fun at how they just bought a truck that gets 17 miles to the gallon or they try and throw away a plastic bottle in front of me. So they like to see me squeal, get angry, frustrated, and try to hit them? Why push my buttons? What do you gain from that?
I don't know, but the problem is I like it? Or rather most of the time I don't get mad, but take it as flirting? When I'm grabbing that bottle out of their hands and telling them to stop I'm smiling and most of the time so are they. So is it like in elementary school where if a guy picks on you that means he likes you?
Every guy I've ever liked either finds another girl, already has a girl friend, is too young, or ends up preferring just to be friends.
At least once a week I try to hang out with the girls. We grab a meal and just catch up. As it inevitably happens with girls, the conversation always turns to boys. We end up going around the table sharing how our relationships with our boyfriends are going, what gift they bought us, what we did with them last weekend, the funny thing they said, etc. it goes on. I love to hear these stories, they are sweet stories and I can tell that my friends are happy, which makes me happy. Then it's my turn..."Still no guys in my life I reply". We all have a good laugh, I'm not sure why. It's not like it's funny, I guess it's just nervous tension. My friends don't know how to deal with me, they can't comfort me. I'm so distant, in another place and stage of life. We can no longer relate to one another. It's not like I'm single by choice, guys are lining up to ask me out and I'm not turning them all down. More than anything I'd love to share a story about me and my beau, not only because it would make my friends more comfortable or I would feel normal, but because I legitimately want someone else in my life. I feel the empty space and I want it filled. It's more of a human need than a physical selfish want too.
I guess I'll just wait until I'm 28 and a half. Thanks Fransico. That's another story in itself. 

Valentine's Day

This marks my 19th Valentine's Day I've celebrated solo. I keep trying to tell myself it is no big deal, the holiday is totally commercialized anyway. But its not working. This weekend I went on a Catholic retreat called Give Your Heart Away. It was a service retreat meant to bring the focus off of the relationship aspect of the holiday and more on God's love. Whether that actually happened is debatable.
I can't help myself but I naturally hate people who have some elaborate, cute, impossibly unrealistic story about how they met their significant other. I just feel like they are rubbing it in my face.The last thing I want to hear is how he said he wanted to marry you on the second date. Oh please. It's not that I don't believe that love can happen like that. I'm just tired of waiting for it.
I want that guy that is going to ask me out on a date after just meeting me. I want someone to tell me that I'm pretty. I'm tired of all the flirting that goes no where.
Just thinking of Valentine's Day, makes the backs of my eyes fill up with painful tears, which I'm struggling to keep in. I don't want to see everyone in the world having their special plans with their loved ones tomorrow. Especially those who I've loved, but never had.
The other thing that got me about the retreat, is that they kept pushing us to consider religious life. The worst part of them pushing it, is that they kept insisting they weren't pushing us. They also said, do what makes you happy and I can tell you right now I will not be happy as a nun. I don't want to consider it. I shouldn't have to, I'm a young fairly attractive woman, why should I be thinking about not being loved for the rest of my life? I shouldn't.
People keep saying to wait and be patient and when I least expect it he'll appear. We'll...I've never really been expecting it. Besides how can one forget you are completely alone in this world? You can't.
If I ever find my someone on a Valentine's Day, I don't even think I'd really want to celebrate it, because I'd remember how I felt spending it alone. And know that someone out there is feeling the same thing. The last thing I want to do is rub it in their face.

Life Strategy

Maybe this is all a part of being in college, but for me I wish there were just a few more hours in the day. Granted I'd probably waste them procrastinating, but I'd feel less stressed in the end I think.
The other day I jokingly made a comment that I have no life. I go to class, do homework, eat when it's convenient, and sleep. It gets a little more complex on the three days of the week that I spend a few hours volunteering. I also try to fit in the gym, and the few TV shows I keep up with, such as The Office.
But my social life is limited, I mean unless you live in the same room as me, you probably won't see me around. Even if you live with me you might not see me. It's to the point where I have to schedule who I eat meals with so we can catch up. I'm not complaining about my busy schedule, I'm just beginning to realize the reality of it. Also the beauty of it.
I don't have any free time to sit around and mope about being lonely, stressed, depressed, or anything at all. I can do that when I lay in bed at night, but on most occasions I'm too exhausted so I fall right asleep.  For me I know if I have a task such as a homework assignment due there is little room for me to worry about much else. I have a one track mind you could say.
My course work has definitely got the best of me this semester. When you spend your Friday nights reading your Physics and Chemistry textbook instead of venturing downtown with your friends, you realize the heavy science and math courses have taken over. I remember how last semester I had what seemed like endless piles of free time, but I'm not so sure I'd want that back.

Girls vs. Boys

When I decided I wanted to be an environmental engineer, it crossed my mind that engineering is usually thought of as a male dominated force, but this is the 21st century a girl can do whatever she wants! Well that mindset isn't shared by everyone, as I've discovered.
It hadn't really occurred to me that in most of my classes I can count the number of girls in them on one hand. I don't go around keeping track, I'm just in class to learn. However being the minority I kind of call attention to myself. Maybe it's because I have blonde hair or maybe it's because I am a girl. Lately I've been very frustrated by how I've been treated by some of my male peers. Let me set up a situation:
I'm partnered with another guy on a physics lab. Me and my partner know each other, we work well together, we're friends, we chose to work together. Anyway we're working on a computer beside another group consisting of two guys. We're all doing the same lab. So my partner and I are chugging along doing the calculations, when suddenly the other group leans over to tell us we're doing it wrong. pause. " I think we're following the directions and doing what it says in the lab and on the board." I give him a chance to further explain. He does, I can clearly see how he is confused, and begin to explain how he is actually in the wrong. I'm just trying to help him understand. He is not hearing any of it, so my partner tries to help him understand what they're doing wrong. He just keeps trying to say how we're the ones that are doing it wrong. We go back and forth on this small matter for some time. In the end my partner and I just sigh and move on. We don't bother to ask the teacher, we know we're right. I can tell my face is red. I move on with the lab but the whole time I'm thinking the only reason he even said anything is because I'm a girl! I was the one at the computer, I was the one typing the calculations in, I'm the girl. My partner doesn't seem to notice this. I mean this guy must have been looking at our computer because he wasn't confident in the work he was doing, but when he saw that our answer was different he assumed he was right, and took the opportunity to show off this intellect. Maybe I'm wrong, I very well could be.
Another situation:
I'm working on a couple physics problems that stumped me, with my same lab partner mentioned earlier. We've chosen to meet up outside of class. The homework problems we're doing are online and you submit the answers and get immediate feedback as to whether it's right or wrong. The best part (or worst part) is that you get to try the answer an unlimited amount of times until you get it right. Most of my problems turn out to be I needed to add 180 degrees to my angle or some other ridiculous physics concept like that. I'm no physics genius but I grasp the concepts. Well now that I've got all my problems solved, I notice he still has one wrong. I check it out, I got that one right without his help. I offer to try and help him. He laughs, "No offense" he says "But I've worked it through multiple times, I even had another guy look at it and work it through and he got the same answer as me." I smile, well I can at least try it. "Fine" he says, "go for it." So I do. In under five minutes I have the problem and the correct answer typed into the computer. He's pretty shocked that I get it right, in fact as I explain to him what I did, I think he is too shocked to even understand what I'm saying. In this case, I know he didn't mean to sound like he didn't think I could do it because I was a girl, he just knows he has more experience with physics than me. Which is entirely true, this is my first physics course ever.
I'm not ashamed to admit it or ask for help, even if I have to ask a guy. So why does it seem that guys won't ask girls for help? Why especially in the Math and Science areas do guys always act like they know everything?
Maybe I'm just being old fashioned but I thought girls not being treated equal to guys was a thing of the past. Well if that isn't the case yet I plan to make it true. I'm a girl, I enjoy math and science, and not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty good at it mind you. Think about it guys, I've taken all the same classes as you to get to this point, which must mean something.


For the life of me I can not make myself look good on an application. Whether for scholarships or for jobs, everything I've done and am about just doesn't get me any rewards.
I first realized this in 10th grade, I applied for the North Carolina School of Science and Math. This is an elite school in Durham, where you live on campus and get a terrific math and science education for your last two years of high school. Then you can go to any NC college for free. Dream come true. Sure you have to leave your family and friends behind, but you have to do that anyway when you go to college. I became invested in this application process from the essays, to the recommendations, to taking the SAT. There was even a weekend where you visit the school learn more about it, and they test you. It was intense, but I was excited. Unfortunately my application was rejected, no acceptance, no waiting list for me, just flat out rejection. I was crushed, all I wanted was a school that would challenge me for once in my life and I was being denied that opportunity. I didn't eat, I didn't talk, I just cried, that was the day my dreams were crushed and my heart hardened. Just writing this makes the tears come to my eyes. Perhaps the worst part of that rejection is that I had to tell everyone that I had failed. I don't like to fail, it's not me. I want to be the best at everything, so this just made me look awful. I didn't feel smart at all. I felt worthless. Of course with my rejection came an appeal, which I filled out basically begging them to reconsider my application, but to no avail.
I ended up getting an invitation into their brand new online program which consisted of taking classes online, on my own time, and visiting the school twice a semester to do lab work and bonding activities with my other classmates. The experience was rewarding personally, meeting new people, taking special classes. My high school unfortunately didn't care about my extra effort. At first my counselor made an effort to ask how it was going, but it was a shame I couldn't get credit towards my GPA, or even do the work during school hours. When I graduated they wouldn't even let me include the title of NCSSM Online graduate beside my name. That's okay, I wore the medal I received from graduating NCSSM when I graduated my high school, my last chance to stick it to the man.
Senior year basically consists of applying to colleges and then scholarships, lots and lots of scholarships. My older brother, was co-valedictorian of his class, received a full ride to NC-State. I was pretty hopeful when I filled out my scholarship applications, I was in the top ten of my class, with stellar grades ( 1 B?), I had been a Girl Scout since first grade, I was actively involved in my church, and gave back to the community in countless ways, oh yeah and I had a NEED for the money. What did I end up receiving? Nothing. Great more tears.
I couldn't understand, you couldn't ask for better grades or community service. I was a good kid, I worked my tail off in high school, let's not forget I was taking extra classes (NCSSM), there was no doubt I would do great things, so where was my money? Granted I was involved in a sports team but I had tons of other after-school activities. It just makes me so angry, especially because the kids that got the scholarships had parents who were doctors. The whole application process was rigged, it depends on who your parents knew in the community.
This meant my second dream was crushed, attending Elon University. It's a small private school outside of Burlington, NC. It had the exact program I was looking for, 5 year engineering, earning me a masters. It was the right size, beautiful, academic, a perfect fit for me. I attended many open houses, tours, even had some scholarship interviews there, bought the sweatshirt, got the acceptance letter, put the sticker on my car. All to not get a single penny from them or any other scholarship, in the end I couldn't afford it. Bring on the tears. The worst part of all my sadness is that it made my friends happy, they were glad I didn't go away to NCSSM, and they were happy I wouldn't be going to college 3+ hours away (most of them were staying local). My youth group was glad I'd still be able to help them out. Don't get me wrong I was glad too, but at the same time I was yearning to go on and do bigger and better things. I need to make the difference I know I'm capable of. I want a challenge, I want to excel.
I don't want to keep all this bottled up inside, I've had my share of hardships, I've hardened my heart, had my dreams crushed, it's made me who I am today and I don't want to pretend like getting to this point wasn't a struggle. It was.
Now I'm getting ready for my first summer of college, and I'm looking for a job. An internship in my area of interest would be great, a solar company, somewhere I could learn the ropes, even if it's not paid and all I do is paperwork. I need to experience something to know if I'm on the right track. I'm all for other jobs too, grocery stores, restaurants, fast-food, stores, anything! I could use the money and I'll do the work. So far I've sent off one internship application and two other applications at a grocery store and a drug store. No results. I can already feel the tears building up. Why can't I get my application to look good?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

First Earth Day

I realize it's nowhere near the first Earth Day...but everyday should be Earth day!
Well one thing my language professor said is true, if you research something you like, it doesn't feel like work. These past two weeks our class has been working on writing our research papers on an event that happened in the 1960s and 1970s. She gave us a list of events to choose from, so as I was scanning the list I was getting a little worried until I got to the last item on the list...First Earth Day. Bingo!
Being the proud environmentalist that I am, I'm ashamed to say...I know absolutely nothing about the first Earth Day. So I was excited to say the least to find out about it and get graded on it!
Let me briefly sum up what happened. A Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, had been working for several years to get environmental issues recognized on the political agenda, however much more pressing matters such as the Vietnam War were all that politicians cared about. However the people at the time were largely against the war, practically every other day the headline in the newspaper was about a college campus that had an anti-war teach-in. That is where Nelson got the idea for a nationwide environmental teach-in event. After a lot of press, some donations, and spreading the word, Earth Day was born! April 22, 1970. The date was chosen to fit in with school schedules, it had nothing to do with it being Vladimir Lenin's birthday contrary to rumor.
So what did they do on the first Earth Day? Crazy things. They beat cars with sledge hammers, buried cars, blocked cars from coming onto campuses, rode horses on the freeway. They dumped oil in front of fountains at major oil companies. They wore gas masks. They rallied, marched, protested, signed petitions, wrote letters to politicians. They did some not so crazy things too, they planted trees, picked up trash, cleaned rivers, and recycled aluminum cans. They listened to speeches and music. "They" all 20 million of them from around the nation celebrated the environment and tried to call it to the attention of politicians. And they succeeded in the following decade around 33 Environmental Initiatives were passed! 
So they say history repeats itself right? That fashion cycles through every 40 years? Well if I did the math right, that means we should have the fashion of the 1970s, bell bottoms, miniskirts, flowers. And oddly enough I kind of feel like we're repeating the history of the 70's again. The Vietnam War...The War in Afghanistan. I think the majority of America is trying to get the environment to be  the focus in politics again. I mean isn't that what Obama's "change" is all about?
So if 40 years ago they were able to organize the first Earth Day and get 20 million people nationwide to participate...without even having the internet,  twitter,  email, or cell phones, then why haven't we in this technological age been trying to make bigger strides to help our environment?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Let's be honest. I've never been a writer. I'm all about the numbers, my mind works mathematically. That's just how I'm programmed, I now see this demonstrated in my life daily. If I don't have my wrist watch I feel lost. No day is complete if I don't find myself reaching for a calculator to determine the answer to something not related to school. For example the other day I was wondering if I wanted to make 1,000 paper cranes in a month how many would I have to make in a day, but what if I get my roommate involved? How long does it take me to make one crane on average?... so when I'm done I'll have devoted how many hours to making these paper cranes? Seriously? Let's just say that plan is now on hold.

Getting back to the point of why I've never been a writer, I find it difficult and uncomfortable to deal with feelings. I can never seem to summon the perfect word to describe my mood.
When someone asks me "How are you?" (as they do countless time in a day) my mathematical mind immediately begins churning, I want to give them that one right answer, but this answer also has to be true, but also interesting, and quick because I'm probably passing this person on my way to class or something. My brain is overwhelmed...I can't find the answer. So what do I tell them? "Fine." Sometimes I hate this question so much I just fire it right back at them. "How are you?" Most of the time they hardly realize I didn't answer, because let's face it, their mind had already expected me to utter fine (or a similar response). I just found this really cool fact and it involves numbers, go figure!
"The average person tells 4 lies a day, or 1460 a year, a total of 87,600 by the age of 60.
And the most common lie is: I'm fine."
That rant was just to prove how difficult it is for me to answer even the simplest question regarding feelings. So I guess it is safe to say I had this perception in my mind of feelings and writing being connected....which I'd venture to say most people would agree is true.
Recently I've come to realize the power and effect words can have, and I've been intrigued to explore this area. I'm not as strong as I lead myself to believe. I have feelings and I'm tired of keeping them in my head, and writing seems to be a pretty organized and yet unstructured way to get them out. It's more one of those things you just have to write out, even if no one ever sees it. As odd as it sounds to me, I'm getting to know myself better through this process.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Coming Clean

So I think anybody that knows me well, knows how passionate I am about saving the Earth. I've recently been titled an activist, which I had actually never considered, but now I couldn't agree more with that statement. I'm really proud that someone recognized me as that.  I'm in college, to learn how to save the Earth. However, lately I'll admit I was second guessing my mission.

Let me bring anyone who cares up to speed. I want to become a climate engineer in order to work with alternative/renewable energy and methods to reduce CO2 emissions. Climate engineering is such a new field, you can't just go get a degree for it. (at least not that I've found) So Environmental engineering I figured was the next best thing, except environmental engineering focuses more on disposing of hazardous waste, monitoring water pollution, etc. good stuff, but not exactly the difference I'm wanting to make. I do some research and find a college that offers a program to earn an environmental engineering degree. Score! Eh....maybe not.

I arrive at college and am extremely disappointed in my introductory engineering class to say the least. Our professor is more concerned that we know how to spell Caribbean, receive, and vacuum then know what field of engineering we want to go into. The 1hr and 50 minutes in that class once a week are literally making me hate engineering. I don't want to deal with this professor for the rest of my college education! (did I mention she is my adviser too?) Meanwhile the mathematics department has been more than welcoming, helpful, and eager to make me a mathematics major. My Calculus professor immediately recognized my skill and began begging me to talk with him about becoming a math major.  I finally gave in and decided to meet with him and break the bad news....sorry dude I'm gonna be an engineer. It was awful. I love math, I'm good at it, I get a sense of satisfaction solving a difficult math problem, I love helping others understand the material even more. In fact from 3rd grade-11th grade I wanted to be a math teacher. I guess old dreams die hard. There is no better feeling than teaching math to others....but wait, yes there is! Saving the Earth! Remember that feeling? I confess it was beginning to fade.

After tonight though, I'm back on track. I cleared my obligations for this evening in order to attend a lecture about climate/environmental issues, what is being done, and green jobs, everything that was right up my alley. The Sierra Club (which I had never heard of) was in charge of the lecture and they were having Michael Brune speak to us. (executive director of the Sierra Club) The entire 1 hr. and 30 mins. the lecture lasted, I was furiously taking notes.

One of the things the lecture focused on was what to do when in an argument/discussion with someone and they are arguing against renewable energy for various reasons, too expensive, not necessary plenty of coal and oil, climate change is fake, etc. you know the drill. (no pun intended) I now feel like I could effectively convince anyone renewable energy is the way to go, and I feel a sense of power with that. I was inspired. I was happy. This is what I want to dedicate my life to. Hopefully I can write a future note on how to take on discussions like I mentioned above using my new found knowledge.

Immediately after the lecture, being the nerd I am, I went straight to the library. Michael Brune wrote a book "Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal" I had to read it. I'm proud to say I found the book all by myself and I'm glad this is the first book I've checked out this semester. I haven't read it yet, but I'm already recommending it to everyone. I plan to carry it everywhere with me so when people see me reading and ask what I'm reading I can tell them. hahah they'll be sorry they asked.

As I walked out of the library on this brisk October evening, I clutched the book like it was my life. Walking across the quad back to my dorm it was dark, with only the almost full moon shinning. I was alone and I was happy. I started to laugh to myself and before I knew it I was crying, tears of joy. Saving the Earth, this is what I want to do with the rest of my life, I never want to forget that again.

This is what I want my blog to be all about.