For my Writing 400 class, we have the opportunity to get points for several different writing assignments or projects that we complete throughout the semester. Most of my blog posts most likely will, subsequently, be sparked by an idea that I got from my class or from my final project/portfolio. This particular assignment was to find a group of about three people, pick a passage from a book, magazine, essay, and then find an image that illustrates the emotion of the passage, not just the literal content. The first passage that we agreed upon was about euthanasia and the morality of “assisted suicide.” I found that the emotion of the passage was truly expressing desperation and sadness for these people that do not have the choice to die “peacefully” or with dignity, as most of the interviewees would describe their experience with this law that prohibits them from doing so. I felt that the author was truly trying to get across a message for these people with whom he felt really sorry for. Upon reflection, I found this image (shown on this blog post) of a distraught-looking man being interviewed by several people, who are seemingly pulling him all different directions as he just looks down at his feet. I felt that this displayed the emotion of the article that we read because the person writing the article was trying to capture a bunch of different sides of the story, but it was not possible to get into the minds of the interviewees, or the people that were being affected by the law that does not allow them to die in the way that they feel would uphold their dignity or keep them in the least amount of pain as possible. Like the picture that I chose, the interviewer probably asked several questions and really tried to get into the emotion behind the dying people, but was only able to scratch the surface of the issues throughout the article.
Hello, faithful followers of my blog. I’m back, and full of fancy new knowledge! Last week I was able to attend one of the most inspiring lectures hosted by the Sweetland Minor in Writing Program. The featured author was Maria Cotera, an esteemed professor in the Women’s Studies department at the University of Michigan. I never expected it to be as moving as it was – I mean, I really only went there to get the boost in my Writing 400 grade, but it turned out to be better than I could have hoped. My final project for Writing 400 (which I’ll have to expand upon in a different post) is focused on the evolution of women in entertainment, so I was incredibly and pleasantly surprised when Professor Cotera began speaking about how her interests in writing have been focused on women, especially Latina women, and their evolution through literature. I felt especially intellectually excited when she went into depth about how important it is that women express their voices in a thoughtful way so that the feminist movement can begin to take hold again. Also, she spoke about how the style of writing needs to change, and made me think really deeply about the lack of emphasis that is put on creative writing and storytelling. I plan on further exploring these questions in my evolution as a writer essay, and hopefully will be able to put forth an extension of Professor Cotera’s arguments for a reevaluation of what we consider to be influential academic writing…with an emphasis on feminism, of course.
Do you ever look back on something and think “man, I should have done things differently”? Of course you do. Anyone that tells you that they never look back and are disappointed by things that they did or did not do, well, they are just full of shit. This semester especially I have tried to act in ways with the mentality of: will my future self be happy that I did this, or said this, or behaved this way? Believe me, I doubt the future Sami will approve of everything I am doing now, but I take solace in the fact that I do that I know make me happy, and I don’t do things that I know would bring unhappiness to my life. Obviously there are things that you have to do that don’t make you especially happy, like studying for these stupid finals, but even then I like to think that my future will be better off because I did study (even if I put it off until the last minute). Since I’m feeling ultra philosophical right now, I learned in my Philosophy of Law class about the idea of utilitarianism, or acting only in ways that maximize happiness and reduce suffering. I like to think of my life that way, or I should try to think of my life that way more often. Why do things that make you sad when you could be doing so many more things that make you happy? Why would I act in a way that I would be disappointed about in the future, or not do something just for the sake of having fun? I want to spend my life in a way that maximizes my happiness, reduces my suffering, spreads happiness to others, and in a way that I can look back on and say “yeah, you did some pretty awesome things with some pretty awesome people.” That just makes the most sense, doesn’t it?
I was lying in bed yesterday and could hardly sleep, so I decided to attempt these new yoga moves that are supposed to help with relaxation. I’ve been going to these hot yoga classes for the past month with my best friend, Katie, and all it seems to bring me is frustration and excessive sweat. But, I was desperate for sleep so I decided to give it a go. As I was trying to balance my knees on my elbows and then grow into a headstand, I overheard E! News in the background talking about the details of the Newtown, Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. I had obviously heard about the incident before last night, but for some reason as I was in my headstand (looking like a fool I’m sure), I was overcome with the most unbelievable sense of grief and confusion. As I lowered myself down I continued to sit on the floor and just stare blankly at the T.V. Why have I been so lucky with the most amazing life, and these kids and parents have to deal with potentially the most devastating loss and heartbreak in the world? I know that I do not deserve the things that I have: a supportive family that I love to be around, all six of my grandparents and step-grandparents still alive, I go to one of the most prestigious schools, I have an incredible boyfriend, and kick ass friends that would do just about anything for me to protect and make me happy. I know I don’t deserve these things, or at least I don’t know why I do, but I could not be more grateful for the life that I have been given. I wish that it did not take a national tragedy for people, and myself especially, to realize all of our blessings. I will continue to count the little things…not a bad life, that’s for sure.
This past Friday, my fabulous teacher, Ray, held a reading for his newly published book, Special Powers and Abilities. Not only was it super fun to see Ray in front of all of his friends doing what he does best (entertain), but it was pretty amazing spending time with the rest of my classmates beforehand. We held a little party at Caroline’s house and planned to walk over to Vault at Midnight together to see the book reading. It was like we had been friends all along. We have the most amazing variety of people in the class and everyone just embraces each other’s differences like it was some kind of perfect melting pot. I am in the Greek community and I feel like most of my friends are either in my sorority, are in a different sorority, or are in a frat. Not because I don’t want to have GDI (God Damn Independents) friends, I just am usually with my roommates who are all in my sorority, my boyfriend who is in a fraternity, or with friends I have met through the same community. The people in Ray’s gateway course are some of the most intelligent, kindest, funniest people I have ever met. I never would have thought we would all have so much in common besides our class content, but it has been one of the best experiences of my college career and I am truly grateful that I got to meet these people. I know it must sound so super cheesy, but I’m being serious! I have learned so much from them in class about how to become a better writer and also about life in general. I know that they all feel the same way. It’s like we have this hidden underlying connection because we all just understand. Happy Wednesday, everyone.
I have tried to avoid super personal blog posts, but since I overanalyze every aspect of my life, I figured I might as well write it out here. Today in class we were discussing relationships and how our friends often give advice, whether we take it or not, and we often turn to these close friends when deciding on nearly every choice in our lives. It got me thinking about the usefulness of this advice seeking and for what purpose or goal I actually hope to achieve by asking my best friends for their thoughts on my decisions. The current relationship I am in now (if you can really call it that) started out in a not so normal way and got messy. The reason for this messiness probably had a lot to do with the fact that my best friend’s boyfriend and my “man friend” are also best friends…following me? So obviously at first it sounded super fun to be able to go on double dates and all hang out together, but it turns out that there are far more things that can go wrong in those kinds of situations. Everybody gets in everybody’s business and when you live with five girls who are all best friends and these girls begin to date a group of boys who are all best friends…it was either genius or madness. Now that I’ve explained the background situation, back to my main concern. When making decisions, especially regarding romantic relationships, is it even useful for me to ask my best friends for advice, knowing very well that I already know what I am going to decide in the first place? What is the point? I figure I am just trying to get them to say what I want them to say and get confirmation on all of my decisions, but would I be able to make decisions without consulting with my “committee?” Is that healthy or just overly dependent on what other people think of me and my choices?
After reading a post on another blog, I was intrigued by the thought of how other students study and if there is something to be said for choosing one way over another. When I think about my own study style I’m automatically disappointed in myself. I look back on my days and cannot remember doing anything other than waking up, eating, going to class, do a little bit of work, eat some more, go to more class, then maybe do a little bit more work at the end of the night (this sequence usually does not apply to evenings Thursday-Saturday). I know that being at the University of Michigan is a huge accomplishment and I should take every opportunity to prove why I got in here and why I deserve the best grade for all of my hard work. But then I think about all of the things I learn outside of my classes, and those things seem to insanely outnumber the things that I write papers about or take tests on. Which is more important? Is one even more significant than the other? I am sure that most of you have heard the quotation “Twenty years from now when you look back on your life you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do.” It makes my stomach hurt to think about looking back on my life and being disappointed in missing out, or regretting not doing something that I was really wanting to do, but will I also be disappointed in myself for not studying enough? For not getting A’s in every single class? I know that when Ray reads this he will roll his eyes at the thought of me caring so much about getting that pretty little gold star at the top of my final Persuasive Politics paper, but those things matter and I’m not sure whether I place more importance in socializing or studying and I have yet to find out if the choices I am making now will disappointment me when I look back on them in twenty years. Maybe one day I will find a fine balance between the two, but for now, the tug-of-war ensues.