Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm Sorry if I Seem Uninterested


Throughout reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, our class has been talking a lot about conformity and non-conformity. While having discussions about conformity during class, it opened my eyes to how much the majority of people in our school conform to each other. From the things people wear to the actions that are carried out, people are conforming to one another left and right. And honestly, it’s annoying to me.

            Alessia Cara gets where my irritation with all this conformity comes from in her song “Here.” The whole song takes place at a party where Cara is being antisocial, to the max (check out the music video!). In fact, the singer points out how pointless it is for her to be there by saying, “I ain’t got no business here… But since my friends are here...” Cara then goes on to say that she would rather be at home by herself than with all these people who could care less about her. This is a typical example of conformity; going to a party or a school football game just because it’s expected of you. I know that I feel the pressure to go to at least one football game… it shows school spirit, right? That may be true, but once I get to an event I honestly did not want to go in the first place, I just want to go home.

            However, as much as Alessia Cara is breaking the norm of what singers her age usually sing about (the stereotypical songs about love, parties, etc.), she actually does have some stereotypes in her song. In her song she states that she’ll be “here” because she does not want to be with “the girl who’s always gossiping about her friends” or with “the boy who’s throwing up cause… He can’t take what’s in his cup no more...” Now, here’s there real question: Alessia Cara – conformist or non-conformist??


            Based off of this song, I believe that she is a non-conformist because of her alternate take on a song about a party. Now, I’ll turn the question to you – is Cara a conformist or a non-conformist?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mental Illness and Mass Shootings

In regards to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, speaker of the house Paul Ryan expressed his belief that, "mental health laws are outdated and that people with mental illness should not be able to buy guns." The concept of not letting a mentally unstable person have access to a gun sounds extremely simple and intuitive, right?

Well, there have been several mentally unstable people who have gained access to guns, and used them. Days after the Sandy Hook shooting, the media suspected Adam Lanza, the gunman, to have had schizophrenia. While this diagnosis was never actually proven, according to Framing Health Matters, "Lanza 'struggled with basic emotions' as a child and wrote a story 'in which an old woman with a gun in her cane kills wantonly.'" Another example of a shooter having a mental illness is Elliot Rodger from Isla Vista, California. He suffered from Asperger's disorder and he took psychotropic medications.
One cannot blame a person for having a mental illness. However, going on a killing spree is an absolutely inexcusable act. Also, there are a ton of people out in the world who have mental illnesses, but are by no means a threat to anyone around them. Not all people with mental illnesses end up killing others, is my point.

This situation raises the question of if our schooling system is doing an adequate job of offering help to the students who are struggling mentally. In my opinion, our school does a really fantastic job, but I cannot speak for other schools. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Welcome to My Holiday Rant!


Just a few days before Halloween, I was out with one of my friends - we went into a store and you will never guess what I saw! Front and center, the Christmas display was out for the season. A small table in the back consisted of 30% off Halloween decorations. An even smaller display off to the side of the Christmas goodies there was the few Thanksgiving decorations that the store had. My point is, Christmas is a big deal for retail stores, but the stores are really jumping the gun this season.

The fact that Starbucks's "red cups" come out November 1st and that I'm getting emails from stores telling me all about their Christmas products, is absolutely insane. Believe me, I love Christmas, but I love the holiday when it's snowing and, you know, December. No amount of Christmas cheer retail stores are trying to spread to me today will make me overlook the fact that there are still fake spiderwebs and jack-o-laterns on my neighbor's front porch and that children have not even gotten half way thru their newly acquired candy.

However, maybe I'm overreacting. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year! What do you guys think?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Columbus Day?!

This year, October 12th is Columbus Day. This is a holiday I always thought was cool, mostly because it often landed on my birthday. When I was in 5th grade my understanding of this day was that, magically, Christopher Columbus sailed right up to America and discovered it right then and there. I was impressed with Columbus because I figured he was the one started the colonies and such. My understanding was, clearly, very off. The Native Americans had their established way of life that worked perfectly for them by the time Columbus got here - it wasn't like he was the first one to figure out that there was land here.

Something we were never taught when we were younger was that Columbus was a jerk and he didn't even mean to discover America - he thought he was in India. Columbus took Natives prisoner as soon as he realized that they had gold and that they could guide him to different places in the Americas. Also, Columbus was power crazy; he stated that he "could conquer the whole of them [the indegenous peoples] with 50 men, and govern them as [he] pleased." (Learn more about Columbus here!)

However, I can't deny that Columbus did have a major effect on the course of history - he brought a lot of Europeans over here, which lead to settlers moving to North America. What are your thoughts about Christopher Columbus?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Reliability

During class, we have been talking a lot about reliability. We've talked about why a person would be or not be reliable. According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, one of the definitions of reliability is "the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same result on repeated trial." I found this interesting because this definition sounds very clear-cut and technical. However, after talking about reliability for the past couple days I have found that, for me, reliability has a lot of grey area. I tend to lean on people - I either trust you or I don't, and the people I trust are the people I rely on. My brothers, to me, are completely reliable. I can trust them with anything. However, there are some people who I rely on for specific things but I would not say that these people are overall reliable people. My belief is that a person should be thought of as reliable, unless you have a reason to think that a person is not reliable. I've noticed that it's hard to make friendships and grow your relationships with people when you assume the worst from a person.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Java Minute?

        Happy National Coffee Day! I love coffee shops - this love was started by my dad, who always took me to coffee shops. If my dad and I were hanging out together, we were either at Caribou Coffee, Dunn Bros or in an ice rink. Of course, he never let me get actual coffee until I was a much older, but I grew to love the smell of coffee and the atmosphere that coffee shops provided to converse with loved ones, get work done, and chill out.

Fun fact: I work at a coffee shop. I've probably heard every comment and joke about how much a person needs their coffee - and don't even get me started on the endless coffee puns my coworkers come up with. Actually if Java minute, I'll tell you latte (haha, get it?). Coffee has many magical, wonderful effects. Obviously, people drink coffee to wake up - it stops a person from feeling tired. Also, caffeine helps open up the lungs making it easier to breathe and the adrenaline released after drinking coffee can actually make your vision sharper than normal. There are, unfortunately, unpleasant effects of drinking coffee. Such as the "crash" - after the energy burst that the caffeine will give you, you'll come down from that, which is never fun. Also, coffee can really mess up your sleep habits, mainly if you drink it in the afternoon/evening. You can learn more fun facts about coffee here!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Is Happiness a Choice?

The Huffington Post has an interesting article about if happiness is a choice and how you can increase your own happiness (check it out here!). Their argument is that happiness is, in fact, a choice that you can make for yourself. The article even goes on to giving the reader eight ways to "control your own happiness." I agree with this theory to a point - I feel a person definitely has control over whether or not he or she will let little things ruin your day. For example, if your sibling eats the last piece of cake and you let that little thing ruin your whole day, then you're choosing to be unhappy when you could easily suck it up and forget about the annoyance. However, bad things happen to good people, so this is the point in the argument where I will have to disagree - I believe that sometimes it can be really hard to be happy, even if you are actively trying to make your life better. This connects to another idea that there are a lot of things in life that are completely out of your control, so the theory that you can be completely in control of your happiness seems off to me.

Overall, there are a lot of things to be happy about in life. Of course there are unpleasant things that every person has to go through, but overall I believe that there are more positives than negatives.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Categorial Vs. Consequential Thinking

In the book The Round House by Louise Erdrich, a vengeful Joe decides that revenge had to be taken on a Linden Lark - the man who raped his mother. In Joe's eyes, after the attack his mother is a completely different person and his "before" mother was essentially killed by Lark along with the family's peace of mind. Joe decided that Lark needed to be dead in order for justice to be served, and Joe saw to it that Lark was killed. Joe's friend, Cappy, was implicated in the murder by firing the final shot at Lark that ultimately killed him. At the end of the novel, Cappy ends up dying. One could argue that Cappy dying is justice for Cappy killing another man and for Joe getting him implicated in the first place. I identify myself as a categorical thinker when it comes to situations of rights and wrongs. I wouldn't say that I believe in karma, but I do believe that if a person intentionally and repetitively does bad things, then something bad will happen on day to that person. My issue with consequential thinking is that could potentially cause you to do something morally wrong when you, under normal circumstances, would not do something morally wrong.



Monday, September 7, 2015

Anxiety and Depression in Adolescents

According to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children's Health Report, 17.1 million adolescents have or have had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. The most common psychiatric disorders in teens are anxiety, ADHD/behavioral disorders, and depression/bipolar disorders. Even though only about 23% of adolescents have a "diagnosable" psychiatric disorder, I can attest that 100% of teens have been or are stressed out, sad, etc. Unfortunately, over time depression has somehow acquired a very negative connotation and anxiety has almost lost it's status as mental illness. The irony about the word "depression" is that it's thrown around like it does not carry much meaning, but then if someone states "I have depression," it's the equivalent to saying "there's something wrong with me." Anxiety on the other hand, I feel has not gotten as much recognition of being a legitimate mental illness as depression as. This is odd to me because depression and anxiety tend to go hand in hand. I believe that there is a huge problem with people telling teens who have depression that they are "just sad" and people telling teens who have serious anxiety disorders that they are "just high strung." This is a relevant topic because the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children's Health Report states that 60% of adolescents who have diagnosable depression are not being treated, and 80% of adolescents who have an anxiety disorder are not being treated.

For information about anxiety and depression, check out this link!