On Monday, I was able to see a presentation by a Adam Carroll. During his presentation, Adam gave lots of tips and advice on how to manage your money, especially while you’re in your twenties. His main conclusion, and the point he continually came back to, was this: if you like like nobody else does in your twenties, you’ll be able to live like no one else can in your thirties, forties, and beyond.

When Adam graduated from college, he had a seemingly typical story for most modern college graduates: he was loaded with debt. He had almost 30 thousand in student loans, as well as 8 thousand in credit card debt. Instead of paying it off traditionally, however, Adam and his wife decided to make ends meet on one income, and used the other to pay off debt. He advocated for paying off debt sequentially, in order of the smallest debt to the largest debt. This, he said, gave him the motivation to keep going because he could actually see the results of what he was doing. Instead of splitting up payments between debts, Adam focused on one debt at a time until it was paid off.

As a college student, I found Adam’s speech to be inspiring. I was lucky enough to get a full tuition scholarship, so all I have to pay for is room, board, books, and other fees, but even that can be expensive. My current student loan debt is around five thousand dollars, and while that may not sound like much (especially compared to Adam’s debt), it is only my first year of college. I likely have several more student loans to take out.

I have already started making plans on how I should pay off this debt as a result of Adam’s speech. I have also become a little more aware of the money I spend. Because I have a debit card, I tend to overspend because the money isn’t physically in front of me. To combat that problem, I have decided to start giving myself a more strict budget and using an ATM when I can so that I can physically be more cognizant of the money that I spend. Although I’m not sure that I’ll choose to financially plan my twenties the way that Adam did, I found his talk to be very beneficial and worthwhile. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, I would definitely recommend it!

On the day of the Palmer Research Symposium, I chose to attend a presentation by Maggie Johnson entitled “Stereotype Activation and Application”. As the title suggests, the majority of her speech was about stereotypes, and specifically about how they can be used both negatively and positively in our lives.

Maggie started out her speech by giving a variety of examples of stereotypes, and then explained what a stereotype was. I felt that this was an effective strategy, especially since her speech was one focused primarily in the science of psychology. By establishing exactly what a stereotype was and also providing several helpful examples from the start, she laid a strong foundation for the rest of her presentation. Maggie then went on to explain her 3 main points, which I believe were that we can control the amount of activation of stereotypes that occurs in our lives, we can try to eliminate or at least end popular use of negative stereotypes, and that stereotypes can sometimes be helpful. I really appreciate the fact that Maggie provided examples, anecdotes, and of course research for each of her main points. It helped me better understand what she was talking about, especially since I am far from being a psychology major. I also liked the way that she set up her speech, seemingly starting at the most important claim and developing towards less but still important claims. Although this is not a conventional strategy, I liked that she used it because it showed me that it could still be effective in presentations. It also showed me that using this strategy can help guide listeners to the main points of the speech, since they are essentially given the most important point at the beginning.

Upon first glance, I didn’t really think that the presentation’s topic would have much connection to popular culture. After listening to her speech, however, I realized that stereotypes play a large role in our popular culture, even though we don’t always notice it. One example of this is the meme commonly referred to as “Asian Dad”. This meme essentially pokes fun at the idea that Asian children are smarter and also pushed harder academically by their parents than other ethnicities. This meme is spread throughout the internet, and likely has been so popular because of the fact that it is based on a stereotype that many people have heard of/recognize. Maggie’s speech taught me that although stereotypes are usually thought of negatively, they can sometimes have positive effects as well. More importantly, her presentation taught me that stereotypes are all around us, and especially present in pop culture through things like movies, music, and advertisements.

FP3 Topic Exercise

March 31, 2015

1) Identify and focus on the specific problem. Answer the first four “w” questions who, what, when, where.

Who: The clothing and fashion industry

What: Many practices involved with the manufacturing and designing of clothing seems to be wasteful and not very sustainable for the environment, or the people who create/purchase such products

When: Modern times (2010 and beyond)

Where: Across the US specifically, but also globally

2) Demonstrate that the problem needs a solution. Map out the effects of the problem.

The effects of the problem including running out of materials to make clothing, depleting resources such as rainforests, creeks/rivers, etc.

3) Evaluate possible solutions. Apply the “If…then…” test on each possible solution. Consider whether each proposal would actually solve the problem, meet certain criteria (such as cost-effectiveness, practicality, ethicality, and legality), and not create new problems.

– Newer technology, like Natalia Allen’s robotic machine that essentially melts clothing together without the need for stitching/sewing

-Increased awareness of the problem. If more people know how wasteful and detrimental the majority of the fashion industry is acting towards our environment, they would likely be appalled.

-Put your money where your mouth is. Pledge to buy from companies that practice sustainability, and also do your research. Just because a company promises that they recycle doesn’t necessarily mean that they do, and even if they recycle doesn’t mean that they’re a sustainable company overall.

-New textiles/materials to create clothing. Instead of using cotton that supposedly needs chemicals like flame retardants and preservatives to keep clothing items proper, why can’t we use something else?

4.) Convince your readers. Support proposed solutions by stating reasons and finding evidence.

5) Answer possible objections to your proposal. Every solution has a downside or possible drawbacks. You need to respond to the most important objections.

-How do we know which/if companies are truly sustainable?

-New technology and textiles are more expensive. Why should/would we want to pay more for clothing than we already do?

-Awareness typically is limited to just that – we only become aware of the problem. How can we convince people to act upon what they know?

What are the 3 key insights you gained from today from responding to others’ drafts? (About writing/process, cause and effect, and/or persuasive argument)

  • 3 key insights that I gained from today after responding to others’ drafts is that one of the best ways to ensure that you have a good paper is to make sure you have a topic that you are passionate about. I also realized that I am not alone in struggling with better explaining my ideas in order to ensure that others could understand it, since it seemed to be a common problem among the papers I read. The third thing I gained from today’s workshop is that it’s okay for a first draft not to be perfect; in fact, they’re meant to be a rough sketch of my essay.

Looking over the feedback you received, did anything surprise you? Did readers respond to your analysis in the way that you hoped? Why or why not?

  • Considering the feedback I received, nothing really surprised me. For the most part, they responded the way I hoped and said that my analysis was interesting and they could understand it fairly easily.

Map out your plan for revising and developing your draft from here. Try to be as specific as possible.

  • The main thing that I plan on revising is my word choice. Almost all the people who read my draft said that I used too many of the same words and seemed redundant at times, so I’d really like to work on that. I would also like to fix part of my introduction and change the errors pointed out by my peers in today’s workshop.

How does Jones include and address counterarguments in his essay? Point out specific moments where he engages an opposing point of view. Is his response effective?

Jones addresses counterarguments by including them right after (or at times right before) his main points of his argument. For example, towards the end of his essay, Jones brings up the fact that while violence may encourage less passivity in children, he also recognizes the fact that violence in video games, TV shows, etc. is not always a positive thing. He also recognizes the fear of violence as a society. He presents his own argument, however, right after stating these counterarguments by saying that violence “has helped hundreds of people for every one it’s hurt, and it can help far more if we learn to use it well”.

While I appreciated Jone’s approach to dealing with counterarguments, I felt like he could have been more effective at including them throughout his essay. Instead of using only a few paragraphs out of a 5-page essay to recognize and deal with the views that don’t agree with his argument, I wish he would have tried to include more. Overall, though, I felt like his response was pretty effective.

Jones writes about the need -especially in childhood- for a “fantasy self”. How do you respond to his claim? Do you agree? What experiences do you have with vicarious “identification”, whether from comic book heroes or other sources?

I can see his point. Many children are taught from an early age that they need to hide or contain feelings of aggression. But when children are taught to mask their true emotions and feelings, many harmful effects can ensure. These effects can include diminished self-worth, especially after a moment of rage or anger has escaped, increased passivity, and others. I definitely see the appeal to his argument that there is a need for a “fantasy self” in childhood to help us feel better about ourselves and our emotions, as well as a way to find means to express ourselves better in a society that encourages us to bottle up our “negative” emotions. To be honest, I’m not sure if I ever really had “vicarious identification”. I was never really into superheroes or even TV for that matter. The only time that I ever felt like I identified with characters was through the books I read as a child.

While Winn focuses on the negative effects of television, she also includes some research suggesting that television makes people more satisfied, happy, and relaxed. How does she respond to this evidence? Do you find her explanation persuasive? Why or why not? 

Winn argues that this new research suggesting that a lot of TV can also include quality family time is not logical and is not something that most families experience. She also alludes to TV as being like a drug, stating that ” the television experience is instrumental in preventing viewers from recognizing its dulling effects, much as a mind-altering drug might do”. Because Winn essentially argues that this new research is ineffective because people couldn’t possibly know whether or not TV is affecting their family life and compares it to a “mind-altering drug”, I feel like her explanation isn’t very persuasive. Instead of bringing up this counterclaim and addressing how TV could also possibly be positive for family relationships, she immediately shoots it down and says that the research is illogical. Doing so hurts her credibility, in my opinion.

Winn makes broad and perhaps questionable generalizations about families and family rituals. Respond to one or more of her claims. For example, write about your own family rituals and “culture”. Do Winn’s assertions in this essay correspond to your experience? How does technology affect or even mediate your family relationships? Does it diversify and enrich them, or “reduce them” to sameness? Do you find that opportunities for “expressing love within the family have been reduced or eliminated”? 

Throughout her essay, Winn mentions her belief that television is a bad thing because it lessens the amount of quality family time that people can spend together, it creates “walls” between children and parents, and also makes families accustomed to living in their own worlds. In my opinion, however, television and technology is not always necessarily a bad thing for my family. While things like video games and television shows sometimes take away from the time we could be spending at park or eating dinner together, I feel like technology also helps unite us. Because I go to school in Sioux City, my family is almost always about 5 hours away from me in Kansas City. Technology like our cell phones, laptops, and mostly Facetime help me stay connected to them and still feel like I’m a member of the family, despite the fact that I’m 250 miles away. Because of this, I feel like technology has increased the amount opportunities for “expressing love within the family” more than it has decreased them.

My spring break was great. I got my first ever car and also passed my driver’s license on the first try. I was very excited to see my little brother and the rest of my family and friends. I had a great time visiting with friends and family at home in Kansas City, but I think the week went by a little too fast for me. Being able to go home made me feel refreshed and also excited for the last 7 and a half weeks of the semester. Hopefully they’ll fly by as fast as spring break did!

I didn’t necessarily have any set plans before spring break, other than to go home to Kansas City. My main goals were to get a driver’s license and get as much driving experience as possible, and I feel like I accomplished that. For the most part, I was just excited to get to go home again and hang out with friends and family and not have to worry about work, school, or homework interrupting that time.

The highlights of my break were getting my driver’s license, getting to drive my car for the first time, getting to take my little brother to one of his preschool events, and also going to the mall with my siblings and grandma. One of the least fun things that I did while on break was ride in the car for almost 5 hours to and from Sioux City.

If I could travel back in time to the days right before break, I would tell myself not to stress so much over the driving test. Instead, I would try to focus on spending quality time with my loved ones and also just spending some down time as I please. In the end, I got my driver’s license, so all the added stress and worry about what would happen if I failed wasn’t really necessary.

To have a rejuvenating college spring break, I suggest spending as little time worrying as possible and a lot of quality time with friends and family.

Blog #4

March 8, 2015

A) Describe your process of preparing your first formal speech for C&C.

The process of preparing for my first formal speech was admittedly a little difficult. I found it was pretty hard to take such a long essay and condense it into three minutes. It was even harder to try to make sure that those three minutes would be informative, worthwhile, and also entertaining. Having to adapt my essay into a speech that people should be able to easily understand was the hardest part of this formal speech. The easiest part, in my opinion, was creating the visual aid portion of my presentation. Since I worked extensively in high school with both Powerpoint and Prezi.

B) First re-read the 3M Formal Speech Feedback Form and then download and watch the video recording of your speech.

I feel like I could have done a better job with eye contact. Although I tried to make it a point to be as connected with the audience as possible, I feel like I could and should have done a better job. One thing I noticed that I liked about my presentation, though, was that I wasn’t as dependent on my notes/visual aids as I thought. Even though my Prezi went dark a few minutes in, I felt like I did a good job of recovering and moving forward without my visual aid. Overall, watching the video shows me that I perhaps did a better job than I gave myself credit for.

C) What were the most and least successful aspects of your speech?

The most successful aspect of my speech, in my opinion, was the fact that I felt well-prepared. I was organized enough to know what to do when things went wrong and although it’s impossible to be prepared for everything, I’m glad that I practiced and rehearsed my speech as much as I did. The least successful aspect of my speech was my time. I went over the time limit by almost 2 minutes. Since the purpose of this speech was to get us to think about how we could condense our information, I feel like I should have done a lot better at this.

D) What did you learn from viewing your classmates’ presentations?

I learned several things from watching my classmates’ presentations. For example, I witnessed several different presentation styles that seemed effective. Some people’s choice to wear the clothing or items that they discussed in their speeches was an effective idea. Also, some classmates’ interaction with the audience was also something that I may choose to imitate in the future.

Blog #3

February 8, 2015

Part A

  • Describe your relationship to writing.
    • Writing is something that I love doing. Whether it be writing an essay for class or just writing a poem or story for fun, I love writing and the creative process along with it.
  • What did you learn about writing in First-year seminar?
    • I learned that writing doesn’t always have to involve large or fancy words in order to get a point across. In high school, I was always taught to use my most impressive vocabulary in order to prove that I was credible as writer. First Year Seminar, however, taught me that large vocabulary doesn’t necessarily mean I’m any more credible or any better of a writer.
  • What do you hope to learn in C&C?
    • In C&C, I hope I learn how to become a more effective speaker and how writing skills can translate into speaking skills. I also hope to learn more about the influence of popular culture in our modern society, as well as more about the perspectives of my peers on pop culture.

Part B

  • Glosses
    • Ads are everywhere.
    • We deal with ads by becoming more aware of them and thus influencing their messages, just as advertisers influence our actions and the purchases we make.
    • Weasel words are no longer as effective because more people are aware of their existence.
    • An emotional appeal is the new way to reach consumers.
    • Charitable causes are one of the most effective and prevalent ways to emotionally appeal to audiences.
    • The Dove Ad is one way that advertisers and consumers have listened to each other in the form of an advertisement.
    • A similar emotional appeal that also proves that both consumers and advertisers listen to each other is the Aussie ad.
    • Aussie specifically shows its product, Dove does not.
    • Dove and Aussie use similar messages that are often ironic to appeal to the needs and wants of their customers while still trying to sell their product.
    • Dove and Aussie have been received by the media and intended audiences differently.
  • Question 4:
    • The glosses seem to the most part progress logically. One way that this essay could be structured more effectively is tying the weasel words section more concretely into the essay. Just looking at the glosses of my essay, it seems out of place.
  • Question 5:
    • The arrangement of the ideas is a very important part of an effective essay. Arranging ideas differently can emphasize different things and can also affect the way that the reader remembers an essay. For example, starting the essay with your strongest argument may grab the reader’s attention but also may do so too prematurely and cause them to lose interest early. Similarly, if you position your strongest argument at the very end of your essay, you may lose your reader’s interest at the beginning and they may never make it to the end of your essay.
  • Question 6:
    • Based on what I’ve seen so far, I think that I would like to make the first half of my essay even stronger so that readers are more inclined to continue reading to the end of my essay (where my argument is the strongest, in my opinion). I need to work on re-integrating the idea of weasel words later on in the essay, perhaps, so that section of my essay doesn’t seem so randomly placed.

Possible Topics for FP1

January 24, 2015

The first formal paper for Composition and Communication this semester seems like it is going to be a fun one to write. Here are a few possible topics I think might be enlightening/interesting to write about (and also compare and contrast):

  • How are the two latest commercials for the beauty companies Dove and Aussie different but similar? Also, how do the styles/strategies of each ad affect their respective message?
    • Aussie commercial: Man dressed as a women, pretty much making fun of and showing how stupid it is to take care of/obsess over hair so much. Also pretty much makes fun of its own product because if hair isn’t and shouldn’t be important, why should we care what products we use? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-igSlC7oD4)
    • Dove commercial: Doesn’t discuss product really, but features heartwarming and emotional appeal that shows young girls who don’t like their curly hair at first, but are sung a song from friends/family with curly hair that essentially tells them to “love their hair and themselves” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou7CyPtkpng)
  • How are the emotional appeals in the McDonald’s “Signs” commercial and the Dove “Love Your Curls” commercial similar/different? Do these more emotional appeals coincide with both companies trying to rebrand (McDonald’s re-inventing their menu, Dove taking on hair care products, etc.)?
  • Many commercials nowadays try to get audiences wrapped up in a story or situation that just so happens to involve their product as well. How is this interpreted similarly (and differently) in commercials like Sonic’s “Buy Your Best Friend a Corn Dog Day” and Taco Bell’s “Take the Money and Run”?