48-Hour News Blackout

Good essay. Thoughtful analysis of the experience and good use of Deresiewicz. Well written.


In reading Deresiewicz’s article on Solitude, I noticed a certain “disconnect” about what he was writing about and the “truth.” Deresiewicz’s argument seems focused on the simple “fact” that this generation – my generation – and likely those that will follow it are discarding solitude in favor of “a constant stream of mediated contact, virtual, notional, or simulated, keep[ing] us wired in to the electronic hive.” He claims that “young people today have no desire for solitude, have never heard of it, can’t imagine why it would be worth having,” yet that could not be further from the truth. His entire argument is based around his subjective experiences, ignoring the experiences of those he is examining. I cannot see myself in his argument and I would argue that most people my age (give or take a couple years) wouldn’t, either. True, the interconnected nature of our generation hinders our “accessibility” at of solitude – but that does not mean that we do not value it.

Now, in this endeavor I can safely say that I have experienced solitude – but the amount of solitude I have experienced is no different than what I experience on a daily basis (i.e. not too little and not too much). But it was not solitude that most bothered me throughout the blackout – it was the anxiety. That heart-wrenching anxiety enveloped me in its shroud of darkness and despair. It was almost as if I was thrust into the plane of ignorance and desolation. My perception of my surroundings became dull; I constantly craved mental stimulation. My “daily ritual” was interrupted. I found myself substituting this “ritual” with various other “distractions”: reading books, writing, playing video games, etc. I was “stuck” within myself for those whole 48 hours – but was I bored? Somewhat. Was I terrified of being bored? Not at all. That boredom sprouted the figurative seed of creativity within me, allowing me to focus on more productive tasks that would have otherwise been left undone.

Now, news in the modern era – or any area, for that matter – is a necessary part of any sane person’s life. True, it is somewhat an intrusion of our solitude, but it is a necessary one. Without it, we are left in the dark about events that take place around us – events that could impact our lives. News on its own does not create solitude – it makes us think critically (at times), true, but that does not confine us within ourselves. Instead, it allows us to formulate objective opinions about the world around us that can be shared and compared with opinions of other like-minded and reasonable individuals. Solitude is as much a part of human nature as is our sociability. We cannot discard one for the other, lest we discard a part of our very nature.


48 News Lockout

Overall, not bad. You rightly focused on analysis. Use paragraphs. Each paragraph should be a mini-thesis, and stand on its own. A big blob of text is a turn-off for the reader. Needed a more direct connection to Deresiewicz.


Being put into complete isolation from any type of news for 48 hours was not as difficult as it may have seemed. The first set of 24 hours was somewhat tricky. Adjusting to this new way of life, even if this way of life was only going to last for 48 hours, was challenging in many ways. In today’s day and age, our lives are surrounded by news, social media and gossip, so to drastically change how we go about our day is not an easy task. The most challenging part of this experience was the beginning because it is not easy to go from having every source of news in your hand to not being able to access those sources of news. The urges to check your phone add to the difficulty. The mind can be flustered when dealing with change, and this fluster of the mind can cause these types of urges. (Interesting) (Second paragraph here) The second set of 24 hours was quite pleasant. Waking up and not worrying about the small and large problems that people face on a daily basis and beginning on focusing on myself was one of the big takeaways that I got from this 48 hour lockout. My stress levels were down and I was able to see the world from a different lens. Also my mind was clear in the sense that it was easier to obtain some of the daily goals that I placed for school and free time. But the main point that I found through the 48 hours of solitude was that news plays a big role in the world. (Third paragraph here) Without news our world would be in danger of anything you can think of, and our world be pretty boring. The solitude however would have different effects on everyone whether that effect is positive or negative. News is a way to fill the empty gaps in our day to day lives, and is also the only way to know what is going on with our world. The importance of news whether it be word of mouth or through a professional outlet is extremely big. The finding of peace that came along with this solitude was also gratifying. This assignment should be used continuously to show people how important news is in our life, and to show people how important solitude can be for us in our life.

48 Hour News Blackout

Overall, pretty good. Heavy on narration. Focus on analysis.  The concluding paragraph was good. Don’t rely on Word for editing. Try reading aloud to catch missing words or phrases, and to spot clunky phrasing. Your writing is  good.


Deresiewicz believed that in today’s society, the idea of solitude is scary to most people. After my experience and analysis, I have to agree that solitude is not for everyone.

During the 48 hours of my blackout, I found myself anxious. I decided to do this during the weekend because I was going to be out of town and wanted to challenge myself. On Friday and Saturday, I was in Orlando, Florida. I knew this was going to be difficult because I would need to know important (information)  for my trip. However, I also thought it would be easier because I would be distracted by friends. That was definitely not the case.

Friday morning, at around 12:00, I started my journey to Orlando with my friends. At first, I felt uncomfortable telling them that I was doing this experiment. For some reason, I thought they would judge the fact that I was actually going to not use my phone for any news, updates, etc. While everyone smiled and said it was fine, I felt relieved but jealous at the same time. They were all on their phones the majority of the time and I couldn’t take place in this event. Since most of the applications I use contain some sort of news, I was not able to use my phone as much as them. They also couldn’t tell me anything they were reading on Twitter or Facebook so at first there wasn’t much to talk about. It was quiet throughout the car ride. I decided to take action and I brought up different conversations and game ideas. None of us were on the phone for almost two hours. It was interesting and I was okay without us (rest of sentence?)

Saturday night, we went to Halloween Horror Nights. I am usually a very organized person who likes to be in charge and make plans but I couldn’t do this without knowing what was going on. (Interesting) For example, I had heard a couple days earlier in the week that were was a chance of a tropical storm hitting Florida. Not being able to check the weather forecast gave me so much anxiety. It was as if I had no control of my day. Without knowing what the weather was going to be like, I wasn’t sure what to wear, whether to bring an umbrella or poncho, etc. I used to think that checking the weather was such an insignificant task but it actually makes a huge difference in my day.

After this assignment, I’ve learned that the solitude that Deresiewicz felt is not something I truly enjoyed. I believe that news is a necessary intrusion to our solitude. It’s important to be up to date with current events and to speak about them with those around you. It’s healthy for us as human beings to engage and learn more from one another. I also find myself in Deresiewicz argument about our culture of celebrity and connectivity. I want to be seen and heard even if it’s by random strangers on the internet. It is also essential to our everyday lives in order for us to make decisions. I definitely took the news for granted but in reality, it changes the outcome of my day in various ways.



Lying to Protect Secrecy

Lying in any context is frowned upon, but if you are lying to protect the secret of a friend does that allow you to bend the rules? During this previous summer for the past few weeks, within the timeline that this moment took place, the local YMCA had become very strict on people that were sneaking in either through the back entrance or people that were jumping the gate. Just like any other summer day my friends and I went to go play basketball for a few hours. I forgot my basketball shoes in my car, so I had to leave the court for a few minutes to retrieve the shoes from my car. I ran into one of my other friends who did not have a membership to the YMCA. He was telling me that we would just walk in with me so that he would not have to jump the gate or enter through the back entrance. I followed through with the plan and it worked as far as we knew. Once I entered the gym we started a game right away, but the next thing we all see is an employee of the YMCA come walking up to the glass doors of the gym. The friend without a membership that walked into the YMCA with me disappeared to the bathroom once the employee walked in to the gym. The employee called me to the other side of the gym and started questioning me about the friend of me that walked in. The thoughts going through my head were “should I tell the truth?” and “should I cover for my friend?”. Seeing as we were not causing any problems I chose to cover for my friend. I immediately felt bad about lying to the employee, but I could not turn back now. The employee made me walk through the whole YMCA to help him on the search to find my friend. The main question that was being ask was “are you lying about not knowing where your friend is?”, which I answered with a no when I truly was lying about the whereabouts of my friend that got in without a membership. Once the search of my friend was over the employee and I faced each other and I was told that “if your friend is man enough he will come up to me and apologize for sneaking in to the YMCA.” The employee assured me that there were going to be zero repercussions towards me or my friend for him sneaking in if he apologized. Once I entered the gym I told my friend the entire story and what he had to do. He thanked me for covering for him and that he would apologize when we left. The shift of empowerment after this situation swung from my friend to me. The reasoning behind this belief is because at any point I could have told on my friend and got him in trouble. The other friends of mine that were there did not have a clue what happened. I felt bad about lying but looking back on the situation I would not have changed my approach.

 There is no thesis or paragraphs. The main problem is a lack of analysis and little reference to concepts covered in Prof. Bleven’s presentation. Most of the paper is a narrative of what happened, not an examination of the dynamics of secrecy, revelation, and lies.  -GFP and ALP


Although secrets are not to be said, loyalty is more important in the end.

Last year, two very good friends of mine who were in a relationship, broke up. Throughout the process of them discussing what was going to happen to their relationship, both of them were coming to me for advice on what to do. The pressure was on. I knew something that one of them did not and which hurt me immensely to keep it from them. The secret was that one of them had cheated on the other.

I have never been the type of friend to judge but I was at loss of words in this situation. Two of my very good friends were wanting to fix their relationship but I was extremely conflicted because of the information I obtained. I was told that I could never tell their partner about the affair. The reason for the conflict in their relationship was constant fighting about trust. How could I help my friend get back with my other friend when they cheated? What kind of person would that make me? Good.

For two weeks, both friends would come crying or venting to me about how depressed they were. I felt no sympathy for the friend who cheated because I knew it was much more than a one night stand. I felt that if I helped her get back with her boyfriend, I would also be betraying my friend. They both meant the world to me and I knew they were both going to hurt, no matter what the outcome was.

I argued with my friend for weeks, telling her that she should come clean because in the end, the truth always comes out. I was mostly angry with her because I wish she hadn’t told me this information. I look back and like to think that if I hadn’t been friends with both of them, I would have been more understanding towards her. But I did know, and I wasn’t understanding.

Through all of this, I asked myself what I would have done if the roles were reversed. I wondered if I would have told her that he cheated on her. The answer was yes. Neither of them were more or less important to me, it was an equal amount of loyalty and love. I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I ended up speaking to my friend and telling him that he should think of the reasons as to why he didn’t trust his girlfriend. I told him that there must be a reason why he was feeling this way and that there was something he needed to know. He looked at me with a confused face. He could tell I was trying to imply something. For an hour, he proceeded to beg and ask me what I knew. My only response was “Please, talk to her.”

To this day, I don’t regret what I did. I was loyal to my friend and betrayed the other. In my defense, they included me in the situation from the very beginning and I did not think that it was fair. I was ambushed with information and sworn to secrecy about something that could truly affect the other person. I couldn’t hold that in and watch them get back together when I knew it wasn’t right. For some reason, I felt betrayed also and I hope to never be put in that situation again.


Very good analysis on how the information you knew and were obligated to keep secret changed how you interacted with your friends’ situation as an arbiter. Great work.

I’ve Got a Secret

(Thesis): Secrets serve as a means to protect our autonomy – our ability to be able to function as individuals. They are some of the most powerful “weapons” any single person can ever hope to wield. It grants them power over others, yet at the same time it restricts them from using said power, lest they discard their very humanity. What my friend did was inexcusable, but the blame ultimately fell to me for not having prevented it from occurring again. I disrespected the power I wielded, and likely destroyed a family as a result. Good. 

It was a mere three years ago that one of my closest “friends” betrayed not only my trust, but also the trust of his own family.You don’t need own. It first started when I had visited his home to partake in a “family gathering” he was having. During the get-together, I remember going up to the second floor of his house. He entered his parent’s room and proceeded to grab a small can from the back part of the room. In that small can was over $200. He only took $20. He motioned me over and whispered in my right ear to “keep what [I had] just seen a secret. [I was] not to tell anyone.” This was only the beginning.

At the time, I also happened to be rather close with his mother. We both shared some mutual interests and enjoyed talking over coffee whenever I would come over. In the days that followed the get-together, I would feel an intense guilt build up inside of me whenever I would see her. Her calm, quiet demeanor combined with her petite stature and friendly nature did not help this. He continued to steal from her over a period of several months, always in small increments – but I still kept his secret. Was it because he was my friend or was it because I was afraid of letting the mother know, possibly jeopardizing my relationship with both of them? Perhaps both. Good.

Around 5 months after he began stealing from his mother, I had learned from casual conversation with her that she was missing over $400. Later that same day, I overheard her fighting with her husband. Now, at the time, her husband was an alcoholic, albeit not a violent one. Because of this, the mother must have assumed that the husband was the one stealing from her private savings. I felt that the lies had to stop, but I simply didn’t budge – that is, until a few days later. Later that same week, I discovered that while my “friend” had been at my house, he had taken over $100 from my wallet. This was the final straw.

The very next day I confronted him and threatened to tell his mother the truth. He looked at me with a condescending expression and laughed off my threat as a joke. It was at this moment that I felt a surge of “power” flow through me. The power was no longer held in the secret; it was transferred to me. Through this secret, I now controlled him. He was my puppet. Of course, I felt no empathy for him. He was a thug – a fact I had been blind too up until that point. I immediately let his mother know. Her emotionless expression to the revelation served as the final nail in the coffin for me. From that point on, I made it a point to distance myself from him and his family. It was only until recently that I heard what had happened with him: he had been using the stolen money to purchase drugs; his parents filed for divorce; he was essentially disowned by his mother.Very good.

What crushes me the most about that entire ordeal was not the fact that he had stolen hundreds of dollars from his family, but what he had done to them as a result of this. Looking at it in retrospect, I was the one who could have prevented it all. I had the power to stop the stealing from the very beginning – but I didn’t. I had the power to prevent the family from falling apart – but I didn’t. Am I ultimately to blame?

Very good quality writing and good analysis, but please make sure to stay within the 500 word limit. 

Graded by Profs. Pearson & Lewis-Pearson

Individual Assignment 4: A Secret

A secret is a bond between few that only leads to lying and fake relationships among many.

I was once asked to keep a secret Sentence is redundant.. A complex secret that I wished I had never promised the confidentiality to. In high school, I was in a relatively big group of friends. We constantly hung out and did things together. Most of the time, a secret was one of the group. Though there were some closer internal relationships (Sentence fragment.). There was a couple in the group that seemed perfect for each other. Even though they got together and broke up often, it seemed as if they were meant for each other. Back story: I grew up with the girl in the relationship and was relatively close to her. One day at school, a close friend of mine broke the news to me in secrecy. I was told that the boyfriend told in secrecy to my friend that he was cheating on his girlfriend (with another girl in the group).Since you were a bit over you word count, you should have made this paragraph shorter and more concise.

After he shared the news to me, I could not begin to figure out what I was going to do. There was only a small amount of good in this situation. One, I realized how intimate my friendship with my friend was that he entrusted me with this information, which honestly, I had some enjoyment in finding out. And two, I now had the power of knowing that information and being able to decide what was going to occur from then on. Though, with all the power came all the responsibility. Every (really, every?) decision I made, including the one to not say anything, would consequent to consequently ruin relationships. I was capable of exploding that so-called group of “friendship”.

In the following days, I began to analyze the interactions between these friends. I noticed the boyfriend giving his girlfriend a run around so she would stay far from figuring it out. His girlfriend had no idea that he was cheating with her friend; she just had a hunch that he was trying to hide something from her. She would try pick at his brain in sly ways to see if she could figure out why things didn’t add up. I’m a very lucky she never asked me about the situation because I don’t know what I would have said. If she would have found out that I had known, that would’ve been the end of our relationship. On the contrary, if I would’ve told her, I run the risk that her boyfriend was lying about it when he told my friend and I would be putting him in false light. Additionally, that would put the new-found trust with my friend at jeopardy.

Luckily, the truth unraveled on its own with no ties to me (how did this happen, and how did you feel about this?). I was able to keep all of my relationships intact. Though obviously, the relationship between the no longer girlfriend and the new couple were distanced, if not destroyed. All of us attempted to keep the secret until others picked up the missing pieces, released it, and brought the situation to light. The secrets were kept in order to keep each other’s reputations safe. The trustworthiness of the group was almost saved by the lies used to inhibit others from knowing the secret but that would’ve just protected fake relationships. (Good, but it would have been better to go into more detail about the dynamics of secrecy and lies in your group.)


Take care not to go over your word count in these short essays. They are intended to be as concise as possible. Make sure you set the viability of your blog to ‘public’ or we have to revert it manually. -GFP