I’ve Got a Secret

Right after my high school graduation, I was eager to get a job. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to get into the field that I wanted because it was very competitive and I had no experience, but I was still hopeful.

My step-dad at the time, Carlos, worked for a prestigious management firm who [word choice: Use “who” only for people.] handled most of the condominiums in Brickell and Miami-Beach. One of their Miami-Beach [no hyphen] properties had just let go of their senior administrator, and they were accepting applications for new hires. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] I immediately begged my step-dad to get me an interview, but he was reluctant due to the fact that I was “family” and it was against company policy. Since we didn’t have the same last name and I was living on campus and had changed my mailing address, I filled out an application and sent it in, along with a letter of recommendation signed by him. He was the Director of Human Resources and had been with the company for a number of years, so his opinion weighed quite a bit. So much so that I got a call that very same week for an interview.

After I got the job, it became harder and harder to keep our relationship under wraps. All my new co-workers would ask about my family and comment on how incredible it was that I had landed the job straight out high school. I had to leave his name out, because if anybody even as little as suspected that we were in any way related both of our necks would be on the line [Relate to class: People keep a secret to protect personal space or a name.] . [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] As weeks went by [comma] I felt as if every conversation was pre-constructed in my head and I had to repeatedly remind myself that I couldn’t slip up. Carlos and I would get home around the same time everyday [two words] and exchange stories about how one of us almost messed up or about an extra nosey co-worker that day [Relate to class: Do you think the person trying to penetrate the secret had a desire to know, gain control, feel superior, or be intimate?] . It really took a toll in my experience with the company because I didn’t fully feel like I could be myself and felt guilt for putting my stepdad at risk. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Although it was a secret that didn’t hurt anyone and in the end would greatly benefit me, I didn’t feel as if though I had EARNED my place with the company. Any relationship I built was constructed on a lie, even if it was a small one, which kept leading to more and more lies just to back up my original lie. [Relate the insights to the readings and lectures.]

I ended up being with the company for 3 years before quitting, and eventually did confess to my closest co-workers how I had landed the job and who my stepdad really was. Although nobody ever suspected or tried to question me, my own guilty conscious and paranoia of getting my stepdad in trouble grew into something that was getting harder to harder for me to hide. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Carlos never once complained or even flinched, but did give me advice on who to watch out for and say very little in front of when he was suspicious of someone being suspicious [Relate to class: Carlos kept a confidentiality out of a prima facie duty and to show loyalty to a peer.]. Our daily chats about our secret and how to keep it from our company really brought our relationship to a completely new level. It built trust and a sense of connection that really just wasn’t present before.

Assignment 6: I’ve got a secret

Veronica Roman

Student ID: 5152184

Team: 06

February 27,2017

When I was in my sophomore year of high school, one of my best friends, Amanda was turning sixteen. I had lunch with Amanda almost every day of the week with our two other girlfriends, Ana and Gabriela. Amanda was a very simple girl, and she was also the shy one in the group. We used to talk and joke about everything. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] One afternoon while eating lunch we started to talk about Amanda’s sixteenth party, we were all picturing it in our heads, but we didn’t realize that Amanda didn’t want a birthday party. She said that she only wanted to spend her day relaxed at her house, maybe watch a movie, or go to a restaurant with her close friends and family but nothing big.

None of us could believe it. She was the first one in our clique to turn sixteen and turning sixteen meant having an awesome party. When the bell rang to go back to class [comma] Amanda rushed to her class. Gabriela, Ana, and I walked together to our classes and talked about what just happened. We were wondering what could we do to give Amanda an amazing birthday. We analyzed the situation, and we thought that she only wanted to be surrounded by the people who actually care about her. So, on, we came up with an idea and decided to call Amanda’s mom after school to talk to her about our plan.

Amanda’s mom was completely supportive. On the conference call, we told her that we wanted to throw Amanda a surprise party at her house with Amanda’s few close friends from school and her family.

Amanda’s mother came up with a plan to distract Amanda while I arrived with my mother and the rest of the girls to set up the party and receive the guests.

The week before the surprise party, Amanda asked us during lunch if we would like to join her for dinner with her family Friday night to celebrate her birthday. None of us knew what to say and we all made up random excuses. She knew we were hiding something, but she thought that we just didn’t want to hang out with her because we all thought she was boring for not doing a big party, and just having dinner with her family.

I remember lying to Amanda was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, especially when I have always been so bad at keeping secrets [Did you feel a sense of loyalty, guilt or anxiety?]. I kept her surprise party a secret for a month. Trying to avoid the subject and seeing her at school almost every day didn’t make it more easier [Relate to class: Keeping a confidentiality puts tremendous burden on the agent.] . I was so excited that every time we were talking I just wanted to scream the words out. I remember feeling guilty about the situation, and things did get a bit strange between us for one week, but I always kept saying to myself that I wasn’t doing anything wrong [Relate to ethos.] and that she was going to love the surprise [Relate to pathos.]. And she did.

48-Hour News Blackout

I began my 48-hour blackout Saturday night after having read a New York Times article titled, “How Can We Get Rid of Trump?”. I realized this would be difficult time to shut myself out of all media and news because of everything going in the political world, but did not feel any anxiety or nerves before disconnecting.

On early Sunday morning, I found myself already in need of some kind of sustainable, factual information that normally only reading the news would usually aid me with; [colon,  not semicolon] the weather. I had planned a family pool day at my condo weeks in advance, but when I looked outside that morning, the sky was overcast. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] I immediately began to feel the annoyance effect of having limited access to information, panicking as I held myself back from asking the family if they thought it would rain. [How do these feelings relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] On any other day, I would not have even thought twice before opening the weather app on my phone. Such simple information that is available to us on the daily was so necessary, that the lack of a simple weather forecast could ruin a whole day for me and my family.

As the day progressed, I realized just how much I used every day news and celebrity gossip to make conversation. There is a handle I follow on Instagram called @theshaderoom. Usually when I’m bored, or as William Deresiewicz would rather state, when I’m “afraid to be bored”, I’ll check in with @theshaderoom and see what’s the latest gossip and celebrity news. What I didn’t notice before the blackout, however, is how important these unimportant news had become in my life. [good insight] [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] During lunch time on Sunday, I found myself with no topic of conversation. I realized that most of my rants and small talk come from not only the political and world news, but unimportant news and events that I fill myself with daily as well. By doing this, I could see that the news I received didn’t have to necessarily be important, but rather I MADE them important by reading and sharing them daily. [good insight]

As I reached the second half of my news blackout, I began to feel the effects of isolation and what us millennials like to refer to as “FOMO”: Fear Of Missing Out. Although I had my family around the whole weekend, I still felt like I was missing out on if not something, everything. I didn’t know what the weather was going to be like, I didn’t know how much Trump had managed to screw up in the last 24 hours, I didn’t even know if the Heat had won their home game. I’ve been so conditioned to having all this information at my fingertips that I didn’t realize how much of it I use to make every day decisions and how much of it is in the context of my day to day communications. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Deresiewicz states that the news is an intrusion of our solitude, and during this experience I must agree with him to a certain degree. We need the news to help us with our decision making, because as David Brooks states, it is heavily influenced by our social context of every day life. Limited connectivity with these sources left me feeling disconnected and not up to date. I can only describe my experience as a 48 hour state of limbo as I waited eagerly to be reconnected current world again. [good insight]

Individual Assignment 5: 48-hour news blackout

Veronica Roman


Team: 06

Student ID: 5152184

23 February 2016

Throughout the weekend I isolated myself from social media. I didn’t know what was going on in the world, the latest trends, or what my friends and family were up to during the weekend. This assignment was very hard for me to commit especially during a weekend where I usually spend my time catching up with the latest news. [Relate to Deresiewicz essay.]   [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] I completely shut down for two days and decided to spend the day at the beach on Saturday. I also started to read a book all over again that I had never finished reading and finally, I got ahead on my homework assignments for the University on Sunday.

During those two days, I did find my self-anxious. Since we live in the twenty- first century everyone around me was talking about the news or a new music video etc. I found a few things to distract myself with, but I also felt alone. I will admit there were a few times where I had the temptation to look at my phone, and it made me think how foolish it is that nowadays everyone is so attached to their mobile devices and social media. [Good insights. How do they relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

When I went to the beach on Saturday, I had a different experience. I was able to appreciate nature even more. While everybody was looking at their phones and taking selfies [Relate to McLuhan’s saying, “The medium is the message.”] , I was catching on with an old book.

The article “The End of Solitude” by William Deresiewicz discusses how solitude has changed throughout the years and how it affects society. Deresiewicz believes that “technology is taking away society’s privacy” (Deresiewicz 1). Deresiewicz argues how today’s society use technology as a way for to not feel alone. Given Deresiewicz description of isolation and my experience of isolating myself, I have to agree with Deresiewicz theory. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Being from the millennial generation, I have never experienced being by myself. Using social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it allows society to stay in contact with friends and family even with some that live far. Technology has also allowed us to be more educated, by being updated with the latest newscast.

Deresiewicz final opinion of his essay was that we should all experience being alone from technology at some point in our life’s to find ourselves. I, however, have to disagree with this point. Maybe disconnecting once a while won’t hurt. Today we do depend too much on our cell phones, but it’s also a way to keep us connected to others, anywhere at anyplace. I moved from Puerto Rico five years ago, and social websites like Facebook made it easier for me to stay in touch with my friends and family. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In my opinion, we should all have a limit when using technology. For example, when dining with our families, we must consider disconnecting from our smartphones. Overall [comma] I don’t think I could disconnect myself from technology again because I like to stay updated with the latest news and stay connected with the people that surround me in my life.

Works Cited:

Deresiewicz, William. “The End of “Discovery”.” The End of Solitude (2009): 1-6. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.


The 2017 News Block-Out

Juan Munevar

Panther ID: 5047582

The 48 hour news block-out, for me, was much easier than I assumed it would be, considering that I’m an avid news consumer. I listen to two weekly NPR podcasts that highlight politics, I’m always tuned to the local NPR radio station on my commutes from school, I have CNN news alerts programed on my phone when big stories hit and I read the New York Times maybe twice a week. Needless to say [comma] the block-out would be extremely jarring from my normal routine and I was interested to see its effects.

Now, I decided the first day of the block-out would be Sunday. To my surprise this was not hard at all. In retrospect certain circumstances helped facilitate the disconnect. Like the fact that Sunday was my dad’s birthday. This made it much easier to distract myself from my phone, podcasts, and general social media as the whole day was planned around spending time with my family and didn’t permit much phone use. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] The fact that I conducted the disconnect on a Sunday was also incredibly fortunate as I usually pay more attention to the news during the weekdays, especially on my commutes to FIU. My weekend routine rarely includes podcast tune-ins, and I also have some entertaining storytelling podcasts that I relied on to avoid the news ones. [How do these experiences relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

Now, we move on to Monday. Monday was a little more difficult as I always listen to my political podcasts in the morning when I get ready. I fought the urge, which was pretty easy, and then I began my day by cleaning the house. I avoided reading all CNN alerts, again this was pretty easy. By 4:30 p.m. I had to go to work, so no podcasts or radio were listened to during 5 to 11 pm. In fact, due to how busy I was, the temptations were barely present. I came home from work at around 11 and went straight to bed. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] This made me realize that I rely mostly on news usually when I’m alone or when I’m doing a monotonous task that requires little attention, but even then it wasn’t difficult to just listen to music or a story-telling podcast.

To acknowledge the reading on isolation: I have always realized the virtues of being alone. In fact, I embrace solitude as it is a chance to introspect the current state of the mind and body. I do a lot of thinking and that’s usually when I’m alone and I’m not afraid of it. Commuting can do that to you. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In general, I have always been a very introverted person and find myself most productive when alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m surrounded by people I love and enjoy spending time with them, but I’m not a heavy social media user and I usually hate being on my phone when in groups of either friends or family. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In many ways, I can see how challenging this experiment could have been, but it made me realize that the majority of my life and what I value most, is experiences that are mostly face to face not face to screen. This, to my surprise, was a happy conclusion and that made me appreciate my upbringing and personal habits.

Secrecy Blog

Lying has always been something that has given me anxiety and stress. Because of that, I’ve always tried to be as honest of a person as possible. As a child, however, I was put in a situation in which my honesty was tried and I had to pick between candor and friendship [Relate to class: Keeping a confidentiality puts tremendous burden on the agent.] . [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] My sister and I experienced a childhood in which we spent almost every moment together. I remember one day about 15 years ago we were playing baseball outside and I was repeatedly telling my sister to be careful when hitting the ball because it could hit a window and shatter it. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] That was exactly what happened. With a forceful swing, my sister sent a baseball flying across the yard, over the fence, and straight into the living room of our neighbor’s house. Shocked, we ran inside our house and pretended to play in our rooms. Meanwhile the security alarm of our neighbor’s house was blasting and I was panicking. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] My sister turned to me and told me to not say a word to anyone about what happened or else I would regret it because she would no longer be my friend. As an adult, losing a friend is sometimes something we want, but as a child this was the end of the world to me. [How did the experience empower you, the other person, or both of you?] 

So there I was, six years old and holding in a secret I didn’t want to have. My parents eventually questioned my sister and I on the situation, asking if we had seen anything that day or heard something. My sister with much ease responded no. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] They then turned to me and I had to choose in that moment if I was going to lie to my parents or betray my sister and face whatever consequences she had planned. Rattled, I chose to be on my sister’s side and agreed that I too had heard nothing or seen anything. I instantly felt terrible and regretted my decision, but my sister turned to me and gave me a high five. I felt a little better then and in a sense closer to her. [Relate to class: You kept a confidentiality out of a prima facie duty and to show loyalty to a peer.] 

The situation and the experience of it in all strengthened the relationship I have with my sister. Although I felt terrible for lying to my parents and even worse for my neighbor who had to repair her window, at the end of the day I seemed to care more about the relationship with my sister and whether she was my friend or not. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] This just confirms how lies and secrets are related and intertwined with one another as discussed in class lectures. At the end of the day if you have a secret and you want to keep it a secret, you will end up telling a lie. This is true as I ended up lying to keep my sister’s accident a secret. Lies are what guard our secrets and ironically secrets guard our lies. It is an interesting concept and although it is dangerous because of what it can lead to (hurting others, bad judgment, etc.) we constantly find ourselves caught in lies and secrets, as they go hand in hand. [good insight] 

48-hour News Blackout

William Deresiewicz states in “The End of Solitude” that the culture of celebrity and connectivity revolves around the need to be recognized and visible. It is the act of being seen by others that satisfies the validation we crave and in the end it is how we become real to ourselves. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] I see myself agreeing with his argument because in today’s world what we do is highly concentrated around what people think. We find this to be extremely important because it is evident that we shape our thoughts and actions based on the opinions of others.

After completing the 48-hour blackout, I was extremely anxious to update myself on news, whether it was local, national, global, or even the weather. The first day of the blackout I had to constantly stop myself from checking the news as I normally do every morning. I had to stop notifications on my phone and laptop from popping up and informing me and I had to resist listening to the radio because it was a source of news. I ritually check the weather every morning before walking out the door because of the unpredictable Miami weather and not being able to know what to expect was stressful. [Instructions in class included avoiding social media because of news articles.]  [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] It became even more difficult when I logged onto Facebook because it was completely flooded with news stories and updates. Every social media account I logged into provided me with some type of news resulting in me having to drop social media as well for the blackout. I eventually found myself bored. I realized how accustomed I have become to receiving news subconsciously and how much of it is everywhere. Even when having conversations with others they’d bring up the latest news or talk about the weather and I’d have to excuse myself from the conversation.

According to Deresiewicz, solitude is what I would have felt but instead I found myself incredibly anxious not knowing what was happening around me. The blackout allowed me to realize just how important news is in my life and how much of a part it plays in my daily activities. I hadn’t realized in my daily routine how often I check for news, whether I do it intentionally or not. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Without a doubt, news is taken for granted. I found myself missing it and the comfort it provided me with because it gave me something to do, to read and to talk to others about. News is necessary and critical in our lives; it is not necessarily an intrusion of our solitude but instead more of an aide to make life better. News is what keeps us all up-to-date and able to function properly.

Although Deresiewicz stresses that solitude is something not easy to achieve but well worth achieving, I found myself anxious in nearing a state of solitude. It isn’t for everyone and it definitely isn’t for me. Having no news for 48 hours made me incredibly uneasy so I can only imagine what being truly alone to experience solitude would do to me.