What I Have Learned

Coming into this class back in August I was definintley nervous about what it would entail. I have felt I have always been a relatively strong writer, but I felt like college was going to be a different animal when it came to writing papers. Sitting in class that first day was a different feeling than I had experienced. Seeing that there weren’t a ton of kids in our class, I felt that the sitaution could be good for me. Then, when I heard Professor Melanie tell us that we would only be in class one day a week so we would be keeping this blog, my attitude changed. I did not like the idea of keeping a blog and having my classmates reading what I would be writing on a weekly basis. But as the semester has come to an end, I have realized it was this blog and this class that helped me step out of my writing shell.

Of the five essays we wrote I had the most fun writing the literacy autobiography. I really enjoyed being able to reflect on my time as a sports writer for my high school newspaper, and I felt I was really writing to my strenghts with that paper. I have found that my best writing comes when I am really familiar with my topic and it is something I have experienced or I am really passionate about. Likewise I struggled a little bit with the research essay because I had to really focus and take in a lot of new information in a short time frame. I am at my best when I can just write without having to stop and integrate information or add a quote. Research essays are something I will need to continue working on. Even though my grade didn’t necessarily show that I struggled, I felt that essay in particular gave me the most trouble.

If you would have asked me back in August if I would enjoy Writing 110, I probably would have told you no. But being able to write on a weekly basis helped me develop as a writer and learn what my strengths and weaknesses are, and I was able to discover that my writing skills could be skills that I utilize in the future.

What Writing Does for Me

I have always had a love-hate relationship with writing, but at the end of the day it does have its benefits. In the future I probably won’t write a ton, but I think I will use writing to maybe clear my head or get things off of my chest. I am the type of person who holds things in, so writing could become a good way for me to express my feelings without having to feel the anxiety of sharing with someone.

There are things I enjoy writing about, such as sports. I don’t always like doing research, but when it comes to sports things are different. I have been into sports since I could walk. Growing up I didn’t wake up and watch cartoons, I woke up and watched Sportscenter. Writing about sports has always been something I have enjoyed and something I’ve felt connected to. In high school I wrote sports stories and columns for the school newspaper and I loved it. It is definitely something I could see myself doing in the future.

Whether or not sports writing is in my future, I believe writing in some capacity could be a stable in my life. Even if it is just spending ten minutes or so a couple times a month to write about things in my life, good and bad, could help me mentally. Writing will always have a purpose and a place in our culture and society, but that purpose could be different person to person. If someone understands themselves and they way their mind works, I think writing can be a great tool.

Athletes and Their Faith

To Mr. David Deckard,

The fact that you responded to this fan mail is very cool. I am fascinated by your position on this topic and share a few of the points you made.

Any sports fan knows of Tim Tebow, and knows of his faith. He is not afraid to share that he is a follower of Christ and I believe it is 100% his choice in doing so. I have no problem with him getting down on one knee and resting his fist on his forehead, just as I do not have a problem with Cam Newton pretending to rip his shirt like Superman or Colin Kaepernick kissing his bicep.

A person’s relationship with God is their business. Tim Tebow and Luke Babbitt show their faith in different ways than other people do and that is their business. However like you touched on in your piece, the fact that they gesture after something positive happens to them in their respective sports can create a lack of meaning in the gesture with some viewers. Those viewers have the right to their feelings, and I can see where they may be coming from. Seeing athletes gesture in these can seem, like they are doing so just for show.

I am a person who respects different people’s views. If Tebow and Babbitt feel it is important to them and their faith to gesture the ways that they do, by all means that is their deal. I don’t believe it is right or wrong. If someone feels grateful and blessed by God, it is their business and choice as to how they go about showing their gratitude.

Why Does It Have To Be War?

As a Christian I think my first reaction to people rejecting Christmas in public is why. My first reaction is asking what harm does it do to have a nativity scene out on public property. But the longer I stop and contemplate the topic of the “War on Christmas”, I realize Professor Mock’s position makes sense. We are taught to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us, and I wouldn’t appreciate seeing things that I didn’t believe in in public if I was on the other side.

I consider myself a humble person. I don’t like to show off or brag, and that included my relationship with God. I don’t go around boasting about being a Christian whether it’s Christmas, Easter, or November 2, 2014. My relationship with Christ is my business, how I go about it is my business, and I believe that is important. I respect people and their views. I may not always agree with them, but I try my best to respect them and their life and the things they go through on ta daily basis.

The point that Professor Mock made about focusing more on why we celebrate instead of appealing aesthetics in public is perfect. I think Christians should focus more about what Christmas means to them; what it represents for them, their family and Christianity. Christmas is way bigger than a display in public, and we shouldn’t make it about that. Stand by your beliefs, by all means. But respect others views too.

“Shattered Glass”

My junior year of high school my journalism class watched a movie called Shattered Glass starring Hayden Christensen, the same dude who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars. Christensen plays a man by the name of Stephen Glass, a 25-year-old associate editor of The New Republic magazine. The movie is based on a real story. A story that entailed a brilliant young writer fabricating story after story, resource after resource, quote after quote. Sorry for the spoiler. I really recommend the movie.

I would assume Glass’ actions could in some way constitute plagiarism. He cooked up his stories. Made up information about where events happened, who was involved, what people said. I would say it is plagiarism. In September of 1998, award-winning journalist and author Buzz Bissinger wrote an article for Vanity Fair titled Shattered Glass, hence the movie title. Bissinger detailed Glass’ transgressions saying “Every name, every company, virtually every single solitary detail—except Glass’s own byline—had been a product of the young man’s imagination” (Bissigner, “Shattered Glass”). How crazy is that?! Bissinger also goes on to explain that Glass “created fake letterheads, memos, faxes, and phone numbers; he presented fake handwritten notes, fake typed notes from imaginary events written with intentional misspellings, fake diagrams of who sat where at meetings that never transpired, fake voice mails from fake sources. He even inserted fake mistakes into his fake stories so fact checkers would catch them and feel as if they were doing their jobs” (“Shattered Glass”, p.1).

Stephen Glass resurfaced earlier this year. In January, he was denied a law license by the California Supreme Court. Doug Stanglin of USA Today wrote that the state of California “argued that Glass was a “serial liar” for fabricating some 42 stories in publications like The New Republic and Rolling Stone” (Stanglin, “No law license for ex-writer, fabricator Stephen Glass”).

It is crazy to me how much trouble Glass went through to gain some notoriety. The article by Buzz Bissinger is incredible and it really details the rise and demise of Stephen Glass. I believe this type of plagiarism is relevant to students today, because I feel like students are too lazy to go through the correct process when it comes to research and gaining facts. This story really intrigues me, so I thought I’d share a little bit about it.

Bissinger, Buzz. “Shattered Glass.” Vanity Fair (1998): 1-6. Vanity Fair. Sept. 1998. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/archive/1998/09/bissinger199809#&gt;.

Stanglin, Doug. “No Law License for Ex-writer, Fabricator Stephen Glass.” USA Today. N.p., 28 Jan. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/27/stephen-glass-new-republic-fabricator-law-license-denied/4940813/&gt;.

The College Debate

http://online.wsj.com/articles/for-some-graduates-college-isnt-worth-the-debt-1409803261

As many of us are venturing into college for the first, I thought it would fitting to explore the question that many people are asking: is it still worth it to attend college? Obviously my answer is yes, or I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. I found this article about college not being worth the debt. The article discusses the income of a college graduate compared to a high school graduate and how “roughly a quarter of college graduates with jobs are earning barely more than those with only a high-school diploma…” How much is “barely”? The article doesn’t give a number. The article also fails to specify what kind of degrees those graduates hold who seem to be struggling according to the author.

The article talks about the economy creating jobs that don’t require a college degree, therefore graduates are forced to take jobs they may feel they overqualified for. My question is what is their degree in? There are some degrees that hold more value than others. Also, how hard do these graduates look for jobs in their career field? Sure, college is more expensive that ever, but in my opinion that means students should be more focused to get the best degree possible that will give them the best opportunity to find work.

Lastly, what if the students discussed in the article that aren’t making the type of money they should be are happy? What if they do hold jobs in their career field and they have the opportunity to increase their salary over time? These are things the article does not explore and they are pieces to the equation that I believe are important.

The Military Man

Ever since I can remember I have looked up to my grandpa, or “Grandad.” I have been very fortunate to grow up close to my grandparents who do so much for me. From a very young age I have been fascinated by my Grandad. We have shared many memories from riding on his motorcycle to flying his airplane to playing a round of golf. I love my Grandad and the person he is. He is very strong willed and opinionated, but at the same time is compassionate and, for the most part, understanding.

If there has ever been a time that I have needed guidance or reassurance, he is the man I go to. If you were to meet him for the first time, you would think of him as a very stern, serious individual. I have never heard him introduce himself other than shaking a person’s hand and stating “Jim Matthews, pleased to meet you.” It is the simplistic, yet stern behavior that I am attracted to. You always know what you are going to get with Grandad. He doesn’t blow smoke; he never sugar coats his feelings, and I believe that is what has made him successful in his life. Grandad is a retired airline pilot and retired Air Force Full Colonel. When I picture a military man, I picture my Grandad. Knowing him and seeing his successes have made me wonder how big of an affect the military has had on him and that is something I would be interested in researching and talking to him about. Based on my relationship with my grandfather and growing up with him as a mentor, I would be willing to be the military has a positive affect on a person’s overall success in life such as job stability, relationship stability and wealth.