48-hour News Blackout – Individual Assignment

Spending a few days without my cell phone and my computer, completely disconnected from the rest of the world is something I often think  thought about but never build up had the courage to do. I imagine it would be pleasant not to have the constant need to check my messages, my social media accounts or the news but a part of me refuses to be left in the dark due to the fear of missing out. This week however, I found myself obligated to detach myself from the world for two whole days. I knew this task was going to be a challenge which is why I had to mentally prepare myself.

On day one, not waking up in the morning to multiple notifications about what had happened around the world while I was asleep or about what President Trump had tweeted overnight felt odd yet refreshing.Run on sentence. Altering my routine isn’t normally my forte which explains the strangeness at first. Nonetheless, I noticed that I went about my day feeling a lot less anxious and less irritated. A while later, this unusual lack of anxiousness was quickly replaced by a feeling of frustration when I found myself having to guess whether or not it might rain throughout the day. Based on the weather patterns of the last few days, I decided to be on the safe side and to equip myself with everything in case of a change in the weather even if that meant carrying a heavier backpack to school.

Although on the first day it was particularly difficult not to give in and open my twitter account, on the second day, I felt calmer and more in touch with myself as an individual. Every chance I got, I would drown out the fear of missing out by reading a book or by doing something so uncommon like just being there in the moment and taking it all in. As the second day went by, I was also able to notice a sort of liberation on my part that I later realized had to do with not closely following the latest developments of the Las Vegas mass shooting. My mind was no longer as consumed with paranoia and discouragement.

Overall, not being bombarded with breaking news even for a short period of time was almost curative. I realized that not following the 24-hour news cycle did not make me feel less informed but it did bring me some solitude. Even though I substituted the time I would normally give to social media with other activities, I was able to let my mind wander off to new places which allowed me to get a fresh perspective. Looking back at this experiment, I’m able to come to the conclusion that news isn’t always a necessary intrusion of our solitude. There are, of course, some exceptions like news that are a matter of public safety for instance that will allow to make very important decisions in real time. But like the saying goes: “Too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing.”, news should be consumed moderately for the sake of our mental health. Overall good writing and analysis.

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Partial Solitude

 Overall, an engaging essay, though a bit light on analysis. Watch capitalization. Avoid using a word multiple times in a sentence. It was OK to use first person in teh assignment, but way too many instances of “I”.Don’t depend on Word to do all your editing. It catches obvious mistakes, but not words like “love” for “live.”

 

When it comes to being alone, there’s people that can handle it a lot better than others. During this whole process, of the 48 hour solitude experience, there were a lot of emotions and thoughts that rushed through my mind. When i first heard of the assignment, I saw myself questioning whether or not i’d actually start feeling anxious. So i decided to start this little experiment on Tuesday, October 3rd the minute I’d wake up. I woke up that morning, and I found myself reaching for my phone to check the weather. I then remembered how I’m not supposed to, so I quickly put my phone down. I’m not one to sit in bed in the morning and check on my social media pages like Snapchat or Instagram. I instead tend to check on the weather. I know, its weird right? But when you love (assume you mean live?) in Miami, you never know when the day is going to go from beautiful blue skies, to a full blown thunderstorm. Turns out this weekend is a good example!

While at work, I managed to stay busy and listened to music to keep myself occupied. I even saw myself get through work a lot more efficiently. So as the hours went by, I left work and got home. The whole car ride I found myself have these impulse decisions to just grab my phone and check Instagram and Snapchat. But again, i kept reminding myself that I had to stay away from it all for 48 hours. I finally made it home and decided to work on some homework, then head off to the gym. Again, while in my car, I kept catching myself going for my phone to check on my social media. I was starting to get a little bit annoyed at the fact that i kept going for my phone when i wasn’t suppose to. I kept saying to myself, “Come on Ashley, seriously? It’s only 2 days and you’re already showing signs of weakness! Get it together woman!!”. (This was pretty funny) After a long day of work, school, and gym, I got home pretty exhausted, took a shower and went to bed. I fell asleep quicker then i expected and didn’t get the impulse reaction of grabbing my phone to check on anything new.

The next 24 hours of this experiment finally came, I managed myself a bit better than the day before. In the morning i already knew not to reach for my phone, and i managed to make it all the way to work without having that impulse. This is because i reminded myself how this 48 hour blackout was actually a good thing. We need to detach ourselves from the world sometimes in order to really analyze our lives. This blackout made me realize how dependent i am on my phone in order to feel connected to the world. Solitude is a scary thought for many people. It was scary for me! Yes I was anxious at some point through the 48 hours, but that was because I realized how dependent I am on technology to tell me things. (Good observation) Something as simple as not knowing the weather drove me nuts! Anxiety and frustration were the two emotions I kept seeing pop up during the 48 hours of partial solitude. I definitely appreciate things a bit more then I did prior to this assignment.

Ending Solitude

Over half the essay is introductory. The focus of the assignment was on an analysis of your experience of solitude. Much of paragraph 2 was narrative, not analysis.

 

 

Deresiewicz argument was definitely one that has been controversial over the last few years of development. While the world of technology is improving, there are philosophers and scientists researching the pro’s and con’s that technology has brought to the world. I, for one, have to agree with Deresiewicz and the others who have made similar arguments. (maintain third person in most formal essays) We live in a generation that where everything is constantly all about social media. It is the way we communicate, the way we keep ourselves entertained and the way we find out about the latest news. Even when we claim that we are having “alone time” we are checking our phones, hence, we aren’t really alone and enjoying our own company. I am not going to lie and say that I make time to be alone. I don’t. I am constantly on social media whether its checking twitter or Instagram, sending snapchats, or posting pictures on Facebook. I am on my phone ALL of the time. Social media makes you feel like you are always connected with everyone. This includes celebrities that have absolutely no idea who you are and live thousands of miles away. Celebrities are constantly posting about where they are and what they are doing. As fans, we are following them and trying to see where their newest favorite restaurant is so we can keep up with them. This has become our world. We aren’t allowing ourselves time to find ourselves, instead we are trying to keep up with everyone else.

After 48 hours of solitude, there was nothing I wanted more than to check twitter and Instagram. Admitting that is very sad and pathetic to me because I actually enjoyed the time I had without social media. So why did I want to get back on it so quickly? It was because I felt out of the loop. I knew that everyone else was caught up with everything going on in the world whether it be with celebrities, latest news, or even sports teams. The way I started my solitude was by watching a movie, after 2 hours I automatically wanted to grab my phone and that is when the anxiety kicked in. I reminded myself that I should do something else so I did but of course the first few hours were tough. I decided to keep myself busy by hanging out with friends but the tricky part was for once in about 10 years I actually had to pick up the phone and call them. That doesn’t happen now a days. Now people just text or snapchat. As the 48 hours finished, I didn’t even notice I was finally able to check my phone. It just came natural to me to not check social media. But of course, when I finally realized that I could, I jumped right on it. These 48 hours of solitude make you realize that one of the most important forms of media is definitely the news. I never used to actually pay attention to the news, I just sat there as my dad watched. But now, after having done this exercise I make sure to watch at least a few minutes of the news a day, especially the weather section.

The End of Solitude

Overall pretty good.  Decent analysis of the experience of solitude. Would help to make direct connections to the Deresiewicz article. Be sure to edit for grammar and flow. Also, break your writing into paragraphs. Each paragraph should be a self-contained unit, a whole unto itself. Having a big blob of text strains the reader.

 

My first thought about the assignment was very relaxed to think that it was going to be an easy blog to write; I’m not very up-to-date with news sources either way. After reading The End of Solitude I went to the computer to finish some emails for my school committee and the first thing that opens up is “Breaking News.” About what? I have no idea as I quickly closed and changed the website.  From site to site, submitting and sending files, news propaganda were everywhere. So I closed my computer.

Late in the afternoon I had a vigil for Las Vegas Shooting hosted at BBC and as the president of the committee I needed to be there. After some minutes of silence, the SPC speaker began to state facts of the shooting and updated news on what is currently happening. Of course at the vigil I could not just walk out and leave, so those were the most news I heard during the 48 hours.

During the assignment I would not say I got anxious because I couldn’t hear the news, but how news are injected everywhere, even on every site you open. So what ended up happening was that I isolated myself, not doing anything and just laying on my bed. After thinking on all the things I had to I fell asleep. A couple of hours later I wake up and put on music on Spotify and realize that all I can do at that point was clean the apartment. From cleaning, to napping, to homework, to more napping, I noticed how the list of things to do kept decreasing faster than I though.

Little by little I started noticing how I needed to keep myself busy in order to not really think or use my computer. And when I didn’t have much to do then I would take another nap. Basically what I analyzed during this exercise was in every corner you go, information follows. Interesting observation. It got to the point where the only way to escape this cycle was by taking a nap , which I don’t think is the best or productive way to detach from technology.

In a red carpet event, an interview they did to with  Denzel Washington, he made the comment that made me analyze. He said “If you don’t watch the news you are uninformed, but if you watch the news you are misinformed.” Good quote!

The assignment made me acknowledge how news impacts our social cycle on a daily basis. Some news are true and some are not, so we need to really research and check our sources for an accurate fountain of information.

48 Hour News Blackout

Very good analysis using Deresiewicz as a lens. Be sure carefully edit for grammar and flow. Also, break your writing into paragraphs. Each paragraph should be a self-contained unit, a whole unto itself. Having a big blob of words strains the reader.

 

Discovering that I was expected to go on a news blackout for two days didn’t necessarily depress me. Two days to turn off the static that has become part of today’s world sounds lovely.  I took on the challenge during the weekend. The morning was sweeter than I had previously remembered. Without plugging in to news and social media, there appeared to be more time to enjoy a morning coffee while doing something as routine as walking the dogs. The two days were planned in accordance to with the assignment, most of the time was spent outdoors. Suddenly, I felt the desire to share the events that transpired. The desire came in waves, mostly gratitude was felt to not know what others were doing. I realized the distraction that stems from constantly updating, being updated with those in cyber relativity was the direct reflection of the camera creating a “culture of celebrity” as Deresiewicz mentioned. (Good) Although, the very people I wanted to share my experiences with weren’t considered specific people but grouped as a body of people. (Try to avoid using the same word three times in a sentence.) Those I wanted to share my experiences with weren’t individuals, but a group of people. Only becoming real individuals via a “like” notification, before that point they are simply a number with the potential of making one feel better about oneself only because they bore witness to what was happening in my life. (Good point) Sadness appeared by the end of day one, realizing that our society has been conditioned to strive for a constant approval. Deresiewicz states “our great fear is not submersion by the mass but isolation from the herd,” I can agree with the statement because isolation is indeed a great fear but also a great blessing, the time spent without any news feeds enabled me to reflect on how my mental state was outside of any crisis that could be happening around me. Tuning in was another way to balance the scales of our overly saturated lives. In my solitude, I gave hard thought to  though hard about the idea of loneliness. Loneliness, was a feeling which I could identify during this time but this time I understood what Deresiewicz meant about loneliness being the “grief over that absence” of company. The company I coveted again wasn’t specific, the company was sought after to make a simple connection with someone outside of myself. Good analysis. Solitude itself made me think deeply about the current path my life was on in turn activating a need to plan. The absence of news was a freeing experience, for those 48 hours the world wasn’t immediately plummeting into despair and I thought of myself independent from an image or reputation. I sought out activities that normally there wouldn’t be sufficient time for, finished a book, organized the pantry and utility closets. Things appeared simpler. This bought me to the conclusion that news, the deep desire of celebrity and connectivity in combination could lead to paralyzing actions. With so much mindless saturation of others’ lives, depressing current events and the need to be seen it’s a wonder how anyone gets anything done.

Secrecy – Cristina Perez

Thesis: Sometimes people who keep secrets actually have the greatest intentions.

One day that I will never be able to forget was the day my father fell of a roof. I was only about 10 years old when this happened. He was at my uncle’s house fixing the dish on top of his roof. My mother and I were at my house when all of a sudden my mother received a phone call. My brother was hysterical and we could barely understand him. He had gone to the backyard to check on my dad and found him in a pool of blood. With no time to think, my mom grabbed me and we rushed to my uncle’s house. My mom didn’t tell me what was going on but by her facial expressions I assumed it wasn’t good.

There were ambulance trucks everywhere so right away I felt my heart go to my stomach. Actually being at my uncle’s house is a blur. All I can remember was everyone trying to keep me away from the house so I wouldn’t see what was actually going on. The only thing I did see was a stretcher being taken into the van. Never did I imagine that it would be my dad they were taking on the stretcher. I was rushed to the hospital with my cousins because my mom went in the van with my dad. I remember everyone being so quiet because my dad was still unconscious. I come from a huge family so the hospital waiting room was completely full but felt completely empty because everyone was silent. My mom came out to the waiting room to give us news and I clearly remember everyone getting up instantly. He was okay. All he had was a broken wrist but he was okay.

Fast forward about a year or so, my parents decided to have a party at the house. I didn’t even question it because all of my friends’ parents were invited meaning they were coming also so I was excited. My friends and I were upstairs in my room when my friend Juanky turned to me and said, “it’s really great your dad got rid of that tumor.” Now, me being 10 years old I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. The room got really quiet and everyone yelled at him to be quiet. That was when my older cousin turned to me and had to explain to me what it meant.

My father had lymphoma. I looked backed over the past year and for all those months, he had been going to chemo therapy. He had lost some of his hair on the back of his head and he told me it was from the shampoo he was using. I was so young that of course I believed him. At first, I was so upset that everyone, including my friends from school and all of my teachers, knew except for me. My brother even kept it from me. When I lashed out my mom had to explain to me that they were only doing it for my own good, so I wouldn’t worry. At the end of the day I knew they had the greatest intentions when they kept that huge secret from me.

Please keep in mind that the assignment was supposed to be about a secret that you yourself felt inclined to keep. It wasn’t about a lie you were subject to. It makes sense to lie to a 10 year old since they don’t have a great capability to reason, so this was perhaps not the best example. What situation have you encountered in your adult life which was surrounded by lies and secrecy? This essay is very light in analysis and feels more like a narrative.

Your writing is decent, but your word count is quite a bit over the maximum. It took a while for you to get to the crux of your essay, and you could have filed down or even eliminated the first two paragraphs to fulfil the limit easily. It’s very important to be concise in these assignments.-GFP

When you love someone, do you tell them a secret known as the truth? Or should you keep it from them to avoid hurting their feelings?

Sometimes in life, you find out about something you shouldn’t have. When you do find out, you’re told to keep it a secret. What is secrecy? Secrecy is the intentional concealment of information. Sometimes this concealment can lead to others getting hurt unintentionally. This is something I have encountered several times.Good, but you should have bought lies into your thesis as well.

I have always been someone who loves being around her family and prioritizes family over anyone else. But sometimes families keep big secrets. This happened to me back in 2009. I had a cousin who simply couldn’t get along with her parents (my aunt and uncle) so she came to live with my family. Her parents were a bit too strict on her for her age. She was 20 and had a curfew of 12. If she wasn’t home by 12, they’d simply lock her out of the house and she’d have to sleep outside in the pool chairs until morning. Now if you ask me, that’s a bit much (I agree, but your opinion isn’t relevant to the assignment). So my parents decided she could come  stay with us on the night she got home and found all her stuff in garbage bags outside. They kicked her out.

Me and my cousin were really close, she was just a few years older then me but we always got along. She’d confide in me about her secrets and drama that’d occur in her life. I loved her like a sister and a best friend.

During her stay at our house, we came across some verbal altercations with both my aunt and uncle as they did not agree with our decision to help her out. My cousin would always say she felt like the black sheep of the family. She didn’t look like she was related to any of us. She simply looked like her mom but nothing like my uncle. And she always felt left out, like everyone knew something that she did not.

So one night, my dad ends up finding out that my uncle is actually not her real dad. He brought her up as a baby after my aunt left her abusive ex boyfriend; my cousins actual father. The minute I found out, I started crying. I felt both pain and anger for my cousin. Having such a big secret kept from her her entire life.

My parents asked me to please not say anything to avoid a possible friction with the family, apart from the one we already had. But I felt keeping this secret would hurt her more than if I actually tell her the truth. I told my parents I couldn’t keep this from her, and decided to tell her myself. Whatever drama that would transpire after, I told them to simply blame it on me.

So I built up the courage and told her the truth. The look on her face was a reassuring one. She hugged me and thanked me for only confirming what she always felt she knew. The revelation was made and did hurt some of our family members, the majority agreed that I did the right thing. Did I do something ethically incorrect? To some maybe. But I know I did the right thing to help someone out.

Just like the previous essay I graded, this  is very thoughtful and well-written. However, it does diverge from the assignment. From the beginning, you were never inclined to keep this secret from your cousin. Thus it is impossible to analyse the relationship between lies and secrets in your situation. This was one of the main points of the assignment. As much as I enjoyed reading this story, you probably would have been better off using another example. -GFP