News Blackout by Karla Reyes

Pretty good essay. Interesting and reflective. Decent analysis and good use of Deresiewicz. When editing, look to tighten your writing. Avoid using a word multiple times in a sentence. It was OK to use first person in the assignment, but way too many instances of “I”.


After reading Deresiewicz’s article on solitude in the postmodern world, I was startled by how much of myself I discovered in her article. I have always thought myself to be a person who enjoys being alone. I don’t have many friends, and I always prefer being by myself than with a group of people. I even find myself excited to be alone in those few times I am hanging out with friends. During this 48-hour block of news media, I discovered I’m not a person that fears solitude, but I am a person who relies heavily on social media for entertainment. I found myself with absolutely nothing to do, and it didn’t make me uncomfortable like Deresiewicz’s friends explain in her article. I felt overwhelmed, not uncomfortable, with the time I had on my hands that I didn’t have before. I didn’t know what to do with it. All the time I had where I wasn’t doing homework or working, I was on my phone. (Better: When not doing homework or working, I was on the phone.) Alone, but not in the way Deresiewicz sees being alone.
After the first few hours, the overwhelming feeling subsided and I found myself drawn to do other things. I finished 2 art pieces I had been working on for months in the span of a day and a half. At first, I thought maybe I was just finding activities to fill up my time so I wouldn’t have to be alone with my thoughts. I realized though, that I was alone with my thoughts, and it was no different than when I was scrolling through twitter. I concluded that I am a solitude driven person, and that I experience the solitude Deresiewicz talks about in her (his) article. I just never realized it before. I know myself so well because I spend most of my day alone, thinking about myself and how I see the world around me. Social media keeps me entertained, but my usage of the apps have never been about being known. The need to find visibility that Deresiewicz says plagues most of my generation doesn’t plague me. I have less than one hundred followers on twitter and it has never bothered me before. All the notification settings for twitter are shut off, meaning I only know if someone messaged me or if I got a new follower when I make the time to use the app.

News has been very important to me since I was 17. I started reading articles on social and political issues at that age. I like being aware of what is happening in the world, and I like educating myself on genuine issues. News should be considered a necessary intrusion into our solitude. The world will not advance, in my opinion, if we don’t pay attention to what holds us back. Deresiewicz was right in that solitude is important for finding ourselves and knowing who we are, but it’s also important to be aware of others. We can’t be aware of others and their sufferings if we are not connected.



Overall, not bad. Making a tighter connection to Deresiewicz would help. 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. Don’t depend on Word to do all your editing. It catches obvious mistakes, but not words such as”weather” instead of “whether”.


In my 48 hours of Solitude, I found myself away from the stresses and worries of life. I was alone of course but I was away from all the terror the outside world might have been experiencing. I have always been okay with being alone. Now with technology, it is hard to do this. I did not realize how many times a day I opened Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media app. I found myself craving to find out what others were doing and what was I missing out on. Was it anything important?  Did I miss something that I absolutely needed to know? In reality, the news I probably missed was a tweet about some girl saying she was hungry.  I believe that without phones and constant communication, our generation would be very different as than it is today. I discovered that I rely highly on the information I read daily. I look forward to it as its a part of my daily routine. Without it, I did experience anxiety and I looked forward to the time when I would be able to go back to being on my phone and able to reconnect with the world. In a way, I believe that the news in our lives is a blessing and a curse. I believe it is a blessing because when things happen we know right away. We do not have to wait or even wait till the situation gets out of hand. We can resolve it right then and there. Even if we cannot resolve it, we can figure a way to stop it or learn from our mistakes and become better next time. With that said, the news is also a huge curse in our lives. Nine out of ten times I actually hate turning on the TV because I am aware that all that is going to come out of that is heartbreak. The news is instant. A murder happens, we know it. A bombing in the world happens, we know it. It was a nice break to get away from that. The news shows you that this world that we live in is great but with so much heartbreak and loss. Its hard to be happy and think of good things when that is all that goes on. Also, learning what people are up to on social media can make you feel as alone when you aren’t even on it. If a person depicts that they have the perfect life, that can make individuals feel as if their life isn’t worth it and if it isn’t perfect like theirs their own life isn’t worth living. Solitude is whatever you make it, weather whether you are in touch with the world in front of you means nothing. Sure news affects it greatly but would that is just something we all have to deal with. Even with nothing, you are never alone. Life, people, and news will follow you everywhere. Solitude is all in your mind to me.

Solitude Essay

Avoid using a word multiple times in a sentence. It was OK to use first person in the assignment, but way too many instances of “I”. Aim for shorter, tighter sentences.


My dive into limited solitude began at 12:AM October 5, and hastily ended at the 48 hour mark shortly, but what had seemed like months. The experiment began by switching around my news apps into one app group on its own separate page on my phone. I replaced where the apps always were with utility apps, like alarm clock or photos for example. Apps I had robotically scrolled and clicked to for years such as YouTube, Safari, and Twitter whose notifications I’d mindlessly read each day were now replaced with the void. It felt strangely easy (Do you mean “at ease”?) at first after assessing what was, and wasn’t news in my life. I had solo player video-games and many books to reread. After 4 hours of doing both, it seemed like my inner conscious reading voice had started forming its own narrative, a sonnet of boredom that sang through my body. I couldn’t speak to my friends as I found that I spoke to most of them on the platforms that I’d also read my news. However, remembering how many friends I actually did have on those platforms brought a new reality of loneliness. I didn’t actively speak to even half of themwas I as popular as I thought? (This should be two sentences)

The feeling wasn’t new, I’m sure many students and teachers alike have felt boredom in coming to class, but it’s usually silenced within a short period of time, or immediately on the student’s part by secretly using their phone during the lesson. (Sentence should be broken up) My mind was only able to keep itself busy for a few hours at a time, any longer than that and it would drift into self-reflection. It’s not as if I can’t sit down and write out my honest internal thoughts on paper for hours, but there’s a difference in doing that when my phone is in my pocket so ironically ready to give me limitless amounts of external information. While I did go out for a walk on Thursday and got caught in some pretty serious rainfall, it seemed as if my thoughts were in a metaphorical downpour of their own. It seems as if the media acts like a bridge we huddle under during the storm, providing us comfort and seemingly confident opinions in the mess that is our own.

As technology inevitably presses forward, it seems as if news and media will continue to intrude on our solitude, but it is necessary to have it, for events such as Hurricane Irma, to be readily known by everyone before it causes its destruction. Nevertheless, my time away from the news made me rethink my own opinions on life without the constant static of new posts and blogs every minute clouding my feed. It’s important for us to know about different events and opinions going on in our world, but also to make sure our opinions are well thought out by ourselves instead of being a mindless etch a sketch of what we see. While I didn’t experience solitude as Deresiewicz describes, I did experience creeping loneliness in the experiment. It was uncomfortable, but it was only so because it was unfamiliar to be disconnected. (Good point on the unfamiliarity of being disconnected) Perhaps achieving total solitude in a world today can’t be achieved through complete disconnection, but finding comfort in our rain.

Media Blackout By Wilkins Melian

Overall, pretty good. Read your writing aloud to check for flow and grammar.  


The two-day media blackout was a very interesting and isolating experience to say the least.  It was as if I was living under a rock, with no ability to see or hear about what is going on around the world or even in my own city.  In the midst of everything going on around the world, everybody had their eyes locked on to the news to see what the president will say next or to gain insight on the protests occurring.  I found myself playing video games and listening to music to distract me from going online and catching up on the latest news.  I realized after the 48 hours that one can become totally lost if they do not access any media or watch any news for a prolonged amount of time.

I related to some of the points made in the article by Deresiewicz when it came to celebrity and connectivity, not in me but in others.  I’ve seen that sense of wanting to be known by everyone and seeking that celebrity status in some of my friends and always wondered what they would get out of it.  They might have hundreds of twitter and Instagram followers but do not form a true connection with a fraction of them in real life, but they do not mind as long as that number of followers increase. (This would be better as two sentences) These people prefer to post pictures of their food online for others to see than actually meet up with those people and have lunch with them.  Before the mediums like cell phones and laptops came around, these people would have been alone and isolated.  But, with the new media and the need to have a celebrity status online, they are rarely ever alone.

With the article in mind, I turned everything off and began the experiment of the media blackout for 48 hours.  The temptation to log on to twitter and check my feed immediately came into effect and left me anxious.  Whenever I would get this anxious feeling, I would focus on a different task to try to take my mind off it.  For example, I played a lot of video games and listened to a lot of music to replace watching ESPN and the news and also going on twitter.  The hardest part of the whole experiment was refraining to see what avoiding the scores were for of the MLB postseason games.  The anxiety was too much to handle to find out who won the Wild Card games that I had to leave the house and go to the gym.

Overall, the 48 hours seemed to last forever and gave me a lot of anxiety when it came to current events and team scores.  After this, I realized that the news is very important and allows us to think for ourselves on where we stand on current events around the world.  The news does not lead us into solitude but creates a format for people to connect with others and the outside world.

Individual Assignment 3: 48-hour news blackout

Good work. Well written, thoughtful, integrates Deresiewicz. Your focus on analysis, rather than narrative, is the way to go for essays in this class.


In the article, “The End of Solitude,” Deresiewicz argues that individuals have lost themselves in today’s society. That all an individual cares about is attention or validation from other individuals. He says, “The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge … the two cultures betray a common impulse.” This impulse is the desire to be recognized and known by others, which probably exists because of the era of celebrity obsession we currently live in. The problem that arises here is that people start caring so much about what everyone else thinks, that they lose their individuality. The technological connectedness that current generations were born into makes it so we are virtually never alone. And if we start to feel the slightest bit lonely, we can just pick up our mobile device and connect with someone. This has created a fear and avoidance of loneliness, which is a huge problem because this generation has failed to learn that personal growth is found in solitude.

I definitely see myself in Deresiewicz’s argument, and it would be a lie (or an extremely rare case) if someone my age said otherwise. I am very much a part of the vast social media network. I had a MySpace in middle school, and I have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter now. Being so involved in these social networks makes it almost natural to think and care about “likes” and how many followers I have. Not that it actually matters, but when I’m in the world of Snapchat or Instagram, I constantly check how many people have watched my Snaps, or how many likes my last Instagram photo got. I’m not sure if this is because of the nature of the applications or the nature of the thought process that goes into posting personal content on these applications. Either way, it sounds kind of ridiculous when I write it down. That made me laugh.

After my 48-hour news blackout, the main thing that was difficult for me was to cut myself off from was the weather app. I don’t really pay attention to the news too much because when I do, it usually makes me sad or anxious. I do come across news stories on my social media feeds without actively seeking news, so I cut myself off from all of the social media sites I mentioned before. Since I don’t usually seek out news stories, it wasn’t too difficult or anxiety provoking to cut myself off. However, I did substitute some of the time that I would’ve been on social media with other social activities. Yet, I was so busy with schoolwork, running errands, and helping my sister take care of her two month old baby, that the blackout really didn’t have a huge impact on me.

I realize that the news is an important resource that I should maybe pay more attention to. I don’t want to take anything in life for granted, but I guess the news has a taboo painted on it in my mind that turns me off. Nevertheless, news is a necessary intrusion of our solitude. It makes us aware of the tragedies that plague other people, and that we should be grateful for our life, and feel a social responsibility to help others in need in any way we can.

Secrecy and Lies by Karla Reyes

THESIS STATEMENT: Keeping secrets gives us our privacy, and I would lie to even my family to protect my privacy, as well as my personal space and wellbeing (two words).
When I was 15 I kept a journal hidden underneath my bed, ignorantly assuming if anyone was to find it they wouldn’t read it. Due to said confidence I wrote everything in it, from my thoughts on my parent’s relationship, to how I felt about my sister and my grandmother. I wrote that I was pretty sure I was bisexual. My sister ended up finding the journal and, according to her now, she only read it because she was mad at me for doing something she couldn’t even remember. My sister probably read my journal because she knew I had written down my secrets in it. Her desire to learn them, to feel superior to me, and probably her desire to be an intimate to me drove her to open it. If she really was mad at me it must have felt good to gain control of a secret I had not even been completely sure about.Good.

Since secrecy is intentional concealment that overlaps with privacy, I felt an intense need to protect my personal space when she confronted me about my sexuality. I lied to her and said the journal entries were creative writing and not any personal thoughts. Lying to her didn’t make me feel powerful. It did however cause me to feel relief since I felt I had gained control back. Lying was my attempt to guard my secret from her hands. She didn’t believe me. She was determined to get it out of me, since penetrating secrets empowers just as much as keeping them. I had lost control of my secret and it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. The pull disclosure happening, with her pulling information out of me was terrible. In the end, I confessed that she was right, and she didn’t gloat like I thought she would. My sister immediately backed off. She was satisfied with now co-owning my secret. It was our secret now.

Lying to her now was pointless, so I roped her into swearing to never tell anyone until I was ready for it. It was her prima facie duty, and she accepted it. As far as anyone else trying to penetrate my secret, my family pried a little bit, but they never had sufficient evidence to assume I was anything but straight. Their well-placed comments and questions never made me feel anything but judged. They knew we were hiding something. My parents still don’t know much about my sexuality- even now that I own it proudly. Holding that secret from them does make me feel superior sometimes. Even though it’s not a secret that gives me an advantage against them, it still makes me feel good to know there is something they don’t have access to. Besides that, keeping the secret from them is a necessity, as it protects me from any ridicule from them. They’re religious, and while I don’t mind their beliefs, they would never see mine and think the same. To be able to keep them at a safe distance comforts me.


Good work which ties in the main assignment concepts.

Secrecy, Lies, and Confidentiality


The relationship between lies and secrecy hold great power over other individuals. Good and short.


Throughout my freshman and sophomore year of Highschool (Doesn’t need capitalisation, high school is two words), I got involved with someone’s problems that eventually got too big for me to handle. For the sake of this paper, I’ll name that person Let’s call him Ricardo. Ricardo and I met during freshman year and became fast friends due to similar interests and classes. We slowly became each other’s intimate over the months leading into sophomore year. It was around this time that I would regularly visit his house for the duration of the summer. He confided in me and told me about his growing depression. This included a lack of motivation for life and his terrible family situation at home, as his parents were going through a divorce at the time. I had an unspoken responsibility to keep this a secret from the world even though I hadn’t been specifically asked to. They were his private thoughts and feelings, and I kept them that way. Ricardo’s mother lived away from the house due to the divorce, but I’d regularly see his father as he was the owner of the house. He was distraught dealing with his own side of the divorce, but he tried his best to keep it out of our lives, even if Ricardo’s mom would visit and argue with their dad for hours sometimes. Ricardo’s wellbeing (two words) continued to plummet further. He appeared normal at school and at home from what I could see, but being the only one in on his secret came with a burden. As much as I tried to improve his outlook of life, I was immature and heavily inexperienced to offer any kind of advice that would help change his mind. Despite the present distraction of the divorce, it seemed that his father was aware of his son’s declining mood, and asked me if it was anything serious. I kept it casual and told him he was just upset over the divorce, as I didn’t see it in my place to say otherwise. The situation turned dire a few weeks later, as Ricardo told me he was going to kill himself on Friday the next week through the overdose of his father’s painkillers, and convinced me to respect his decision because he didn’t have a motivation to continue. I was at a mental loss that week, did it matter if I tried to get him help if he didn’t care enough to help himself? I took off school that Wednesday to tell his father about the entirety of the situation while Ricardo was at school. Apparently, he had also thought the situation was bad, but didn’t have much evidence to let an authority know. He immediately took Ricardo out of school that day, and my own friend gave me a look of disgust as he came home. He was pulled out of school and was put into therapy, eventually moving out of the state due to the divorce, and I haven’t spoken to him since. I had immense power over Ricardo knowing his secrets, but also felt powerless carrying their burden. I don’t know if he is happy today, but I’m glad I let his father become an insider. My casual lies to his father served as a thick sheath over the issue that could have ended a life.

Weaves in the major components of the assignment. Please remember to separate your ideas into paragraphs. This is a proper essay. I put in some pilcrows. Make sure not to go over the word limit. Overall good work.