I encourage all those who have not read George Orwell’s 1984 to do so, as it has become a must-read in the era of our own “Big Brother”.
-- Joaquin Contreras
1984 by George Orwell, a book I’ve only recently read for the first time, is striking in its relevance to the United States now and where we stand as a country – if “standing” is even a term possible to describe our current times. There is no doubt that division in our country only seems to be growing wider, and because of the recently elected Donald J. Trump as our president, no doubt that our country’s true colors are bleeding through the mask we wear that we call “democracy”. 1984 is a book taking place in the nation of Oceania that is ruled by “The Party”, or Big Brother (who seemingly is the leader of The Party). Winston is a government worker who, despite being against the regime, cannot escape the eyes of the party and cannot express any kind of resistance, action, or thought against the party without risking being arrested and inevitably tortured and killed. The Party has also developed a new language called “Newspeak” which eliminates all words that could possibly be used to build resistance and plans to implement its use as law. Although much more exaggerated than our current situation under Donald Trump, the book just seems all too familiar to ignore – and now that it has been the bestselling book on Amazon recently, it is clear that this relevance is being widely recognized. However, one horrifying example of how relevant Trump’s presidency is to the “Big Brother” in 1984 can be found in one of Trump’s many tweets from twitter where he says, “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting”. The first step to achieving dictatorship status is eliminating your opposition, and then creating the allusion that it simply never existed. In this case, eliminating the opposition of Trump would be continuing to allow Blacks and Hispanics be continually targeted persons by the police, or the “thought police” if you will – per 1984, thus perpetuating the fact that colored citizens make up the vast majority those who are incarcerated in America. Eliminating the opposition of Trump would also be cutting funds to public media, arts, and humanitarian programs so that the voices of those who oppose cannot be heard – which he has done. As the first year under the new Trump presidency progresses, the more it seems that we are beginning to shift from a democracy to a more “Orwellian” fiction novel – both surreal and horrifying.
I encourage all those who have not read George Orwell’s 1984 to do so, as it has become a must-read in the era of our own “Big Brother”.
-- Joaquin Contreras
Creciendo, tuve la bendición y la maldición de compartir una habitación con mi hermana pequeña. Era divertido tener bailes nocturnos y lecturas de cuentos, pero también peleábamos constantemente durante las labores de limpieza y la etiqueta de la hora de acostarse - yo tendía a acostarme hasta muy tarde, y mi mala organización es nada menos angustiante. Cuando era un estudiante de segundo año en la escuela secundaria tuvimos nuestras propias habitaciones, la vida sin duda se volvió más fácil, pero también era un poco solitaria.
Tener un compañero de cuarto ha sido más fácil debido a mi experiencia con mi hermana. Alicia se queda hasta tarde como yo, y las dos somos un tanto desordenadas (aunque para mí tal vez desordenado es una subestimación). Por supuesto, hay mucho que es más difícil también - Yo conocía a mi hermana mejor que nadie, mientras que sólo he conocido a Alicia por unos meses, y si hay alguna disputa no hay padres para salir a corriendo en busca de respuestas. Aquí hay algunos breves consejos sobre cómo navegar algunos de los problemas que puedes enfrentar:
Haz un contrato
Durante los primeros días del semestre, estable algunas reglas básicas con tu compañero de cuarto. Por escrito es preferible porque se puede hacer referencia más tarde, pero incluso sólo hablar de ello puede ayudar mucho. Considera preguntas como: ¿A qué hora duermes? ¿Con música o sin música? ¿Qué temperatura para la habitación? ¿Cómo te sientes acerca de personas durante la noche? ¿Cuál es el horario de limpieza del baño? ¿Qué nivel de caos está bien?
Haz un plan de emergencia
Cosas suceden en la universidad. A veces algo va mal, cualquier cosa, desde que uno de ustedes perder su llave a problemas médicos repentinos. Es importante planificar con anticipación para este tipo de situaciones para que no estén buscando un cerrajero en el último minuto. Y, por supuesto, diferentes escuelas tienen diferentes políticas para estas situaciones, así que asegúrate de comprobar lo que sugiere específicamente tu universidad.
Planea algunos almuerzos
Algunas personas no se llevan bien con sus compañeros de cuarto; esto es perfectamente normal. Personalidades pueden chocar. Pero a veces es bueno pasar algún tiempo juntos fuera de su espacio de vida mutua y conocerse unos a otros. Esta persona probablemente te verá en tus peores momentos, por lo que es importante construir algo de confianza si puedes.
Si tienes un problema con algo que tu compañero de cuarto está haciendo, hacelo saber. Es probable que, si dejas que el problema aumente, tus sentimientos van a empeorar en lugar de mejorar, y comenzaras a resentir a tu compañero de cuarto. Si estás preocupada porque ella siempre deja la puerta abierta, hacelo saber. Si ella está constantemente cantando junto a lo que está sonando en sus audífonos y te molesta, hacelo saber cortésmente. Del mismo modo, también debes animarla a ser abierta contigo acerca de sus preocupaciones y ser de apoyo y conciliador, si estás haciendo algo que le molesta. Después de todo, tu dormitorio es uno de los lugares más privados para ti en el campus, y que ambas se merecen un ambiente habitable.
Si hay problemas ...
El primer paso es tratar de resolver sus problemas con compromiso. Conflictos de vez en cuando es perfectamente sano, y como estudiantes universitarios están preparados para manejar la mayoría de los problemas como adultos. Sin embargo, si el problema se intensifica y no puedes encontrar una solución, dejar que un RA sepa lo que está pasando. Así, ellos pueden trabajar contigo para llegar a una solución.
Esperemos que esto ayude! También rápidamente: se exacta en el formulario de selección de compañero de cuarto. Si dices que eres ordenada porque quieres un compañero de cuarto limpio, pero en realidad eres un vago como yo, lo más probable es que tendrán problemas. Así que, como de costumbre, la honestidad es la mejor norma!
Escrito por Joanna Slusarewicz y traducido por Reyna Valdez
The first day of school, you meet the teachers that you will be with for the rest of the school year. The first day is always fun, full of goals and anticipation for the school year to come. On my first day of eleventh grade, I realized that I had not one, not two, but three teachers that had trouble connecting to their students because of cultural barriers. Two of them had extremely thick accents, and the third teacher had just finished learning English. Yes, having an accent can be good when it comes to connecting with the place that you call home. However, as a teacher, you have to be able to have your students understand you. Therefore, as a student who could not understand her teachers I had to find another way to learn.
The first thing I learned quickly was that most teachers teach their material based on a textbook. Once you have that textbook, it will be easier to understand the things that are going on in class. I had to make sure that I read the textbook before class started so that I could have an overview. You can also get other valuable information in your textbooks, such as practice questions and diagrams to help your understanding. Another way to learn is to actually google the material. If you did not understand something in class, googling it for clarification is one of the best things you can do. Watch a video or play a game based on the material. It will also be a good way to make sure you do not forget the concepts. The last and best way to understand your teacher is to ask questions. Ask questions during class and after. Only they know exactly what they mean. Remember, you are there to learn. If you are not learning, it is your responsibility to help yourself.
-- Naomi Khan
Uno de los problemas con que me enfrente cuando estaba escogiendo cuál colegio asistir fue el proceso de regresar a casa durante el descanso de la primavera. Mis padres me surgieron que escogiera una escuela en California para que pudiera manejar a casa durante varios descansos. Sin embargo, cuando empecé a recibir ayuda financiera se me hizo claro que iba asistir a una escuela afuera de mi estado de California. De pronto estaría en Atlanta, unas 2134 millas de mi casa. Mientras estaba asistiendo a la escuela por muy poco dinero, me enfrente con la realidad áspera que no iba a poder regresar a casa durante muchos de los descansos de la escuela. La feria para comprar un boleto de avión era mucho para mi familia. Por esta razón, no más iba a poder regresar a casa durante el verano y el invierno. El descanso del invierno es especial para mi porque es el tiempo cuando mi familia extendida tiene más tiempo libre. Es una oportunidad para ponerme al dia con mi familia y mis amigos que de otra manera no tengo la oportunidad de verlos durante el verano por varias obligaciones que tengan. Más aún, es bonito estar en casa durante el tiempo festivo. Durante, la semana de el descanso del día de acción de gracias, pasa el día del pavo con la familia de mi compañera de cuarto en Carolina del Norte. Para ser completamente honesta, hasta este momento tome a el tiempo con mi familia por hecho y sentí por primera vez la punzada de extrañando mi casa. Sin embargo, mientras escribo esto en mi sala estoy tan feliz de estar en casa después de 4 meses.
Una cosa que espero ver cuando llegue a casa es mi hermana. Ella esta en el octavo grado y esta preparandose para entrar a la prepa. Esta exhuberante de el proceso de ir al colegio después de mirar a su hermano hacerlo todo. Como es natural, la rivalidad entre hermanos la empuja a tratar de ser la mejor en la prepa y asistir a un colegio mejor que el mio. Estoy emocionado de usar unas de las cosas que ha aprendido de tutoría con ella. Su ambición y espíritu competitivo me hace pensar que si va lograr más que yo logre en la prepa.
Aparte de pasar tiempo con mi familia pienso usar mi tiempo trabajando en proyectos que no tuve la oportunidad de completar durante el año escolar. Uno de las metas grandes que he organizado para mi descanso es aplicar varios practicas externas en el área. Esto incluye arreglando mi resume de trabajo, escribiendo “cover letters”, arreglando mi Linkedin, y agarrando letras de recomendación. Estas cosas no son tan difíciles pero toman mucho tiempo esfuerzo. Estoy trabajando en hacer curriculum acelerado de iniciativa empresarial para una organización en mi escuela. Eso, por otro lado, va tomar mucho investigacion, trabajo, y esfuerzo. También espero leer los libros que tengo en mi cuarto. Un problema que siempre ha tenido desde la prepa es no poder leer libros durante el año escolar. Entonces leo todos los libros que puedo durante mis vacaciones. Sin embargo, a veces regalo unos de los libros que se que no voy a leer durante las vacaciones.
Espero que todos tengan unas bonitas vacaciones festivas. Para ustedes que todavía están tomando exámenes, buena suerte. Espero que todos tengan la oportunidad de pasar tiempo con su familia y tomar un descanso de la escuela.
Escrito por Gabriel Moran y traducido por Karen Reyes
I was really hesitant to address this, but I feel like there is so much stigma to changing majors in college that I wanted to say why I, as of last week, officially changed my major.
Over the past month, I have been going through a quarter-life crisis, which is a thing. I have recently decided that I will be changing majors from biology to psychology. A lot of people who know me would ask why I would do such a thing in the middle of my third year of college and not just "tough it out" or "finish what I started". Well, here are some answers to that, in no particular order.
Reason #1: Falling Behind
For the first time in my undergraduate career, I have found myself fighting with my back against the wall. In a previous post, I mentioned I was without my medication for several weeks, which resulted in my not going to multiple lectures and recitations. Well, missing several lectures and recitations is hard to come back from. I am willing to openly admit that I am barely getting by in my classes, despite the fact that I have been doing everything I can to attempt to succeed, which brings me to my next reason.
Reason #2: No Foundation
This is like the first reason, only slightly different. I previously stated I have fallen behind and I am trying to get back into the groove. However, pre-health courses are taken sequentially. In other words, I have to take Organic Chemistry 1 before going to Organic Chemistry 2, and so on. If I am currently not doing well in my classes, how can I reasonably expect myself to do well in the courses proceeding this one, let alone the medical field? Trying to learn things I was not able to in my first month of the semester is very difficult, especially when classes like these move at an alarmingly fast pace. It has been very stressful, and this introduces the next reason as to why I am switching.
Reason #3: My Health
If any pre-health student were asked how hard the concentration is, I would like to think most people would answer it is extremely difficult. Well, that difficulty has caused a lot of stress for me, which, in turn, has exacerbated my Crohn's disease symptoms and has triggered many panic attacks. I can understand that it is necessary to work hard to get into any field. However, in my opinion, I am no longer willing to put my health at risk for this. I look down the road and I see that, if I continue down the pre-health track, I will spend 2 more years at NYU, 4-5 more years in medical school, and at least 6 years for both residency and fellowship. I am not willing to put my body under that amount of stress for over a decade and make myself feel a thousand times worse than how I feel now for something I may not even want to do, and my uncertainty is very crucial in this decision.
Reason #4: Uncertainty and Loss of Passion
I remember when I first went to Florida State. I was so excited to start my path of becoming a doctor, and I did enjoy my freshman year a lot, even if I had to withdraw second semester and I was taking 4-5 classes per semester. However, when I got to NYU, I found myself questioning my desire to do this. I had my reasons for wanting to go into medicine, and they were extremely valid, but this semester, I have literally found myself going through the motions. At first, I found the things I did in my laboratory courses interesting, but I got bored with time. Having been hospitalized multiple times, I would rather have my doctor be interested in the things they do instead of having apathy towards the field.
Reason #5: Money Does Not Talk
I found myself interested in psychology when I took Social Psychology at Florida State. I loved the class, and I did work in a lab focusing on the effects of autonomic arousal on healthy aging adults, and I found myself fascinated with the field. Maybe I would not focus on the stuff I did for my project, but I do think psychology is interesting. Plus, I have been in counseling for the past couple of years, and I found that it made a difference with me. If my counselor made a difference for me, maybe I could make a difference for someone else and actually be passionate about that. I am aware of the money I would give up if I did not pursue medicine, and I do not care. In my opinion, my passion is more important than what I make.
Changing majors is not a "last ditch effort" to maintain a GPA that means nothing in the real world, and it is not an act of "quitting". In fact, it is quite the opposite; it is a measure of true strength because changing my major empowered me to do what I care about so I will have no regrets in 20-30 years.
I am taking a stand for my future and, to quote Invictus, "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."
-- Ricardo Canelo
Cuando regresé a mi “hogar,” todo se sentía diferente. ¿Quieres saber por qué pongo comillas sobre “hogar”? Pues los pasados tres meses he tenido que llamar hogar a mi dormitorio y cuando regresé a mi casa regresé a mi hogar ? Aunque parezca confuso, cuando regrese a mi hogar, olí el olor de la casa, y aunque alguna gente no lo entienda, me dí cuenta hace años de que cada casa tiene su propio olor. Antes yo nunca reconocía el olor de mi propia casa porque siempre estaba ahí, pero al regresar a casa reconocí ese olor, el olor a madera envejecida mezclado con un olor a refrescante que penetra mi casa para siempre. Después de bajar mis cosas, tomé un baño y reconocí que bien se siente tener mi propio baño. Sentí en paz sabiendo que voy a tener una semana de puro relajo y llena de comida. Me aseguré de que mi primer día consistiera de reunirme con amigos de la preparatoria y mi predicción fue incorrecta. Los primeros minutos de andar con ellos se sintieron raros porque no sabíamos que preguntarnos, pero al seguir hablando se sintió como que nada había pasado. Fue como si ningún tiempo había pasado desde la última vez que nos vimos, pero ahora tuve que explicar qué hay dos Jorges. Hay el Jorge de la universidad que está tratando de encontrarse y seguir estudiando mientras mantiene una vida social, y también el Jorge de Houston quien se quedó pero se hizo más cínico. Los demás estaban de acuerdo con mi teoría y al pasar de eso recordé memorias de mi tiempo en la preparatoria y las veces que recordaba en la universidad pero no me sentía lo mismo. Termino este blog declarando que los dos mundos en que he vivido nunca existieron juntos. Son dos seres muy diferentes, pero cuando regrese de nuevo estoy emocionado en tener ese sentido de relajo y de preguntarme cómo sería si me hubiera quedado en Houston.
Escrito por Jorge Valenzuela
Traducido por Ivan Mireles
As a low-income undergraduate college student, i rely heavily on the Pell grant i receive from FAFSA. If it weren’t for that, i would have to take out loans--something i really try to avoid. However, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal aspires to dispose of those educational grants in 2018. This proposal doesn’t exactly get rid of the program entirely, but rather reduces funds for it by $3.9 billion.
According to USA Today College, this distinct grant program has been around for over 40 years. The Pell Grant program is the largest federal grant program, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Many students solely have the ability to attend college because they acquire financial assistance with the Pell grant, so reducing the amount disbursed will ultimately serve as a detriment to many across the country.
This proposal also seeks to completely eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, also known as the FSEOG program. The FSEOG programs supplies $100-$4,000 a year for students with financial need, according the U.S. Department of Education. This federal educational grant is different on the other hand because it is in accordance to a campus and sent directly to the financial aid office, not to the student.
These Pell and FSEOG grant funding changes are part of the $9 billion U.S. Education Department cut desired by Trump’s proposals.
All we have left is to hope that Congress has compassion for the many of students struggling financially across America, and rejects the proposed budget cuts.
-- Lupita Villarreal
If you are about to be a Junior or Senior in high school, you may be eager or dreading visiting college campuses. For me, touring college campuses was incredibly exciting and was helpful in the sense that I was able to put "a face to the name". However, there is certainly a right way to go about visiting college campuses in regards to gaining valuable information and to fully appreciate what a college has to offer.
When visiting a college you would be remiss if you did not sign up for a campus tour. Campus tours are generally free, very broad and showy, student-led tours of a college campus. These tours are great for introductory purposes and to become familiar with the campus. Sometimes you will have the chance to speak to professors or administrative staff who can speak to some of the nice qualities of campus. That being said one must be cautious on the tours as you cannot take everything at face value. You should certainly talk to students you see milling around campus in order to ask them about how they feel about campus.
There are a couple of buildings you should try and visit when you attend a campus. First of all, if you have any inkling of an idea as to what you want to major in, you should visit that department's building as soon as possible. Visiting this building could give you a sense as to how important or active the department and its faculty are. Furthermore you should see if you can visit the dorm buildings of the campus. Sometimes during campus tours, your student guide might lead you through one of their buildings. Even if they do take you to one of their dorm buildings, try and visit one of their others to get a sense the community in the dorm buildings.
The most important building that you should visit is the school's cafeteria. The cafeteria and most importantly the food it serves can be an important factor in deciding whether or not to decide to go to a school, particularly if the institution forces you to sign up for one of their meal plans. You can also save yourself the trip and ask students about the food in the dining hall. If you get the opportunity to try the food for yourself, take it as it could be the food that you eat for the next four years.
Visiting a college campus is an important and exciting part of deciding where to go to school. It is important that you make the most of your visits and that you get a sense of what life on campus is like.
-- Gabriel Moran
My second greatest fear is public speaking. I can practice something for a long time and the minute I get on the stage to present/perform all of it leaves my memory. One particular time, I signed up to perform in the talent show at a summer camp and halfway through my poem all I could think about was running off stage. I froze. It was mortifying.
So when an old homeroom teacher offered me the chance to read at an event during my Spring Break I was pretty hesitant, but I agreed under a sense of obligation. But I’m just as terrified as ever. Two weeks out, these are my current strategies for facing my fear.
My main focus at the moment is getting my piece written as quickly as possible so I can practice. The main benefit of course is making a good performance a habit, but there are other benefits. Having my work done early cuts down on the stress throughout the process, meaning that I can better use my time. In addition, I get the chance to hone my final product as I practice, learning what works best and what doesn’t. This means that when I finally present, my practice not only makes me confident in my speaking, but in my writing as a whole.
These principles are widely applicable—if you’re nervous about an essay, doing a lot of free- and pre-writing can help you loosen up and ultimately result in a better essay. If you’re nervous about meeting new people, try to put yourself out there as much as possible in smaller, less stressful doses and build up to bigger events like parties.
Another thing I’m trying is meditation. With apps like Headspace and Insight Timer, it’s easy to carve out five minutes a day to relax and deal with my anxieties in a healthy, controlled way. This makes it easier to actually get to the practicing and makes me less nervous as I do it. As the date gets closer, I hope to ramp up the number of times I meditate so that when it’s finally time for me to go up I can be sure to get myself into the right state of mind to minimize anxiety.
Finally, I’m finding as many people as I can to practice in front of. By exposing myself to smaller stressors, I can work up a resistance to my fear with people I’m comfortable talking to. I hope to start by performing for my roommate, and work up to a few small groups of friends, and then family when I get home for Spring Break. This way, when the final performance comes it will be less of a sudden stress and I’ll have had time to adapt to the experience.
I’m not sure how these will work out for me yet. But hopefully some of my experiences might be helpful to you as you face the tasks in life that are out of your comfort zone.
-- Joanna Slusarewicz
By now, many of you will have established plans for summer vacation. For those of you that are going to be doing an internship over the break, there are a couple of things you should do before your first day. What I am about to write about also applies to those of you who are going to be working or volunteering over the summer.
It is easy to write on a resume that you are proficient with Excel or other spreadsheeting software. I am sure many people are guilty of putting this on their resume when they, in fact, have little to no familiarity with the software. Do you and your employer a favor by actually learning how to use Excel, at least on a basic level. There are a couple of great online resources you can use to become capable of using Excel with some degree of dexterity. All you need is a weekend to become great at Excel. There are thousands if not millions of tutorial videos on Youtube with the intent to educate people on how to use Excel. Knowing how to use Excel will make you invaluable in an office setting.
For those of you with internships in an office setting, it is important that you figure out what the dress code is. However, I would venture to say that it would be safe to assume that an office probably has a business casual dress code. Of course, there are numerous definitions and trains of thought on what clothing exactly constitutes business casual clothing. Regardless, it would not be a bad idea to purchase or ask a family member to borrow a couple of button up dress shirts and pants. Furthermore it would not be a bad idea to learn how to tie a tie. Again, learning how to tie a basic Windsor knot is only a Youtube video and fifteen minutes of practice away.
This next topic is a little more sensitive than others. Many internships and jobs for that matter have pre-employment drug tests. Failing a pre-employment drug test could lead to an individual losing an internship or job that they worked so hard for. Of constant debate is, of course, the position of the workplace towards cannabis. Even if you are in a recreationally or medical state and you fall within state law in the use of cannabis, you are still violating federal law and therefore a workplace can terminate your employment or internship due to a failed drug test. This is especially true of government offices who do not deviate from Federal law in this regard. Of course certain offices have different approaches to drug tests so it would not be a bad idea to become familiar with the posture of an employer towards this. That being said, if you the aforementioned applies to you, I would recommend halting usage of the offending substance until you are first drug tested or you figure out what the office policy is.
Internships and jobs are important ways to develop oneself professionally and are an important part of building one's resume and experience. Being prepared for your internship will make your summer better and reflect well on you in the eyes of an employer.
-- Gabriel Moran