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Posts Tagged ‘School’

Hello everyone. I’m still on break, but I discovered this article while reading several reputable and not so reputable news sources. My schedule this semester is pretty full, so I have yet to determine a good time for me to post on a continual basis. However, this academic semester has started of well, and I look forward to continually providing my poor and possibly useless commentary to an audience who may or may not exist.

Several things to look out for:

1) The State of the Union Address (for the United States of America), is this Wednesday. I encourage all of you to listen to it or watch it (probably the latter). I think it is extremely relevant to any person who lives in America. Many people have been complaining about the continual war, or asking questions like: “What is the country doing to fix the economy?” Well, this is a perfect time for people to learn what topic the president is actually concentrating on. Is he putting all his efforts into supporting a health care bill, or is he concentrating more on the new supreme court ruling? Liking politics or not is immaterial at this point. It’s about knowing what is actually going on, and being educated enough to recognize the importance of finding things out for yourself.

Besides, I always found it was rather stupid that people liked to make commentary about what they knew near-nothing about. For example, people who love American Democracy without realizing that American runs on a Republic system. Or commentating on the “international free market” when it doesn’t exist. Or complaining about the American economy without doing a little research. Reading blogs (even mine) may be insightful, but I would hardly consider it research.

2) I’m going to try cutting back on the actual length of my posts. Usually, my rants will last about 1000 words, which is good (I suppose) for people with nothing better to do. But, I feel it is more beneficial for me to learn how to write less while still relaying the same amount of information than it is to write whatever the hell I want for over 9000 (yes, I went there) words.

Course, it didn’t really work today, because I’ve seem to have hit past my intended mark of 500 today. Man do I need to shorten these “precursor complaints.”

‘Oral sex’ definition prompts dictionary ban in US schools – Guardian.co.uk

I understand if an elementary school wants to ban Catcher in the Rye, or if a public school is comfortable with carrying, say, copies of playboy. Heck, I even understand how a protected/limited search engine would ban you from searching for Shel Silverstein (although it is more of a “I can see people programming this poorly” than as an actual ban). But dictionaries? Because they contain definitions of sexually explicit words?

Please, like you would use the word coitus to explain how you created your child in the first place.

I thought it was interesting how parents dream of their kids growing old and getting married and possibly having kids of their own, when the very same parents are terrified that their child will learn (oh goodness, that dreaded word), about SEX. Yes, perhaps kids shouldn’t learn about sex when they’re 4 or 5, but they’ll have to understand what it is eventually. Children do grow up. Many will have sex eventually, probably far before you realize they’ve lose their virginity. Trying to remove all possible relations to any connotation of sexual interaction will only serve to feed their ignorance. Or, encourage their rebellion.

When will it be time to teach a child about sex? As much as we would like to think that “they’ll just know” or “we’ll know when they’re mature enough,” the world does not work that way. There is no telepathic connection that sends a signal to your brain that says “your child is ready to know about sex.” By continually viewing children as, well, children who are incapable of “understanding” the complexities of sex, not only will children realize they can no longer learn from their parents, but they will move onto other sources. Perhaps not so wonderful sources (unless you guys seem to believe that music videos and dictionaries are a good way to educate children about sex).

Which leads me to another question. When it is time for a child to learn about sex, where will he or she learn it? The school? A dictionary? The side of a cigarette carton? I’d hope not. I would think that children would be able to trust their parents enough, at whatever age they are at, to learn about what sex is. Perhaps, if more parents took the time to explain sex without either avoiding it or depending on other sources to teach it, we would have fewer pregnant preteens.

In any case, it is ridiculous to have the notion that your child will always and forever be pure and free of sexual thoughts and influences. By educating and teaching your child when they ask about sex (whether they discover it through a dictionary or a friend), you (as a parent or future parent) will be able to explain what sex is before they think that sex is something akin to a mash of hentai, playboy, rap videos and dictionary explanations.

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I just really wanted to apologize for not posting in a timely manner. Things have been rather hectic on my side (my play just opened [and closed], finals are slowly dawning upon us, and various personal matters have sprung up… I am a student, I don’t get paid to write… yet) and I promise you’ll get to hear more of my needless banter eventually!

I’ve also been working on a new costume. For my final project in Asian Theater, I’ve chosen to make a Kabuki costume. It’s been taking a lot of my energy and will continue to take much of my energy for the following few days.

But, never fear! I will post tomorrow (promise). If I don’t feel free to curse my name to the heavens.

Besides that, I just wanted to mention that I’m not a bitter old spinster, and I’m not some depressed jaded soul. But what would this blog be for if not for bitching and complaining?

And with that in mind, I’d just like to post some things that have been on my mind and are rather tiny, but warrant comments (too short for twitter, too long for wordpress).

  1. Twilight and its accompanying books act as a reflection of our poor reading and writing skills because it proves that we are incapable of liking complex character and must resort to consistently liking empty characters that we can fill with our own personalities.
  2. It’s funny to think that Democrats (and liberals) consider themselves the oppressed ones when they’re currently they hold the larger of two political parties, and the majority of both the Senate and the House (and if you’ve forgotten, our president is a Democrat).
  3. That being said, it’s equally funny to claim that Democrats will “drive this country to the ground with their liberal ideals.” Few people actually understand the platform differences between Democrats and Republicans. You’d be surprised to find out which party believed (or is supposed to believe) in what.
  4. People should read classics, not because they’re classics, but because they’re damn good stories. Romance, lying, cheating, backstabbing, toilet humor and deep human insight can all be found in a good Charles Dickens (maybe) or Jane Austen (definitely) book, and they do a much better job at it than JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyers.
  5. It is not cool for people who do not understand geek culture to suddenly call themselves geeks. It’s not something you can magically become just because your friend handed you a Linux Ubuntu disc or because (OMG) you bought your first hard drive (or because you like LOLcats).
  6. I don’t care how much of a rebel against “the man” you’re supposed to be. Everyone needs a nice set of clothing. No more pit stained dress shirts or mismatched slacks. This goes double for ladies.
  7. People should really do their research before they make a speech on it. This goes double if you’re taking about free speech, net neutrality, separation of church and state (and no, that is not clearly defined in The Constitution) and the Creative Commons License.
  8. It’s much easier to let knowledge go in one ear and out the other, unless you were taught to stick a sponge up your brain. We should all encourage sponge stuffing into American babies everywhere.
  9. The freedom to speak, write and think as you please comes with the responsibility of being able to logically think and analyze. Without that ability, the freedom of choice becomes a dangerous tool used by the ignorant masses who are simply too lazy to think, and too stupid to understand the importance of it.

Special thanks to Phil, Heather, Christian, Bill, Vince and Brian for coming to watch my play at some point in time, even if it was sad and even if I got raped and died in the end.

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I is smart.

Sorry for 2x the non-existent posting. I’ve been filled with work, Thanksgiving break is coming up, rehearsals for my play have been stressful, CKI work is through the roof, exams are on their way, and my throat is sore.

Blah!

The following post is more of a bitter ranting than a thought-out and through post (I guess that’s okay because the subtitle of this blog is “Rants of a Little Asian Girl”). Recently, I’ve become very bitter about having to settle for either depressingly mediocre “intellectual conversation.” The few who I actually talk to consistently remind me that people who are capable of good political, psychological, philosophical and social discussions are far and few. I like to think optimistically about the students in my college, or the people I meet, but when I run into a situation where an op-ed in my school newspaper claims our health care plan is only 100 billion dollars (it’s been months since the estimated price was that low), I cry for how lazy the students and so-called intellects of today are.

That is not to say intelligent people don’t exist.

Currently Reading: As always, nothing.
Currently Eating: Cheez-its (mmm…)
Currently Drinking: Mountain Dew (double mmm…)

While I was in my American Politics class this week, the professor had us read over some essays (take home exams) that were due in class. The essay concentrated on the relationship between economic and social policy within the United States, something which I have taken a particular interest to. And, being that we either don’t have class, or have a boring lecture that is usually irrelevant to the topic at hand, I was initially excited about hearing something different.

Instead, I was treated (sarcastic) to an array of poorly written essays that did not answer the question. These essays failed to acknowledge the relationship between the two types of policies and were more textbook summaries of key phrases than anything else. This technique (if one could ever call it thus) was most clearly seen when students wrote about economic policy, a subject that few students understood, let alone analyzed.

It is times like these where I cry for the American education system, a system that promotes factual regurgitation and encouraged memorization over analysis. What’s the point in receiving an education if a child is incapable of applying it or fully “understanding” it? It’s like eating food and spitting it out rather than swallowing it. Yes, the food may taste great, but it fails in its purpose of providing nutrients to the body. Similarly, the education system can be easily standardized and replicated with this regurgitation learning technique, but few students actually develop an understanding of the subject. Instead, students just take in the information, throw it back up in the form of a paper or a multiple choice examination, and then forget about it.

I admit, even I have fell into the “I’ll just memorize this and not fully understand it and just throw it back out at the exam because I’m not required to actually analyze anything” system. My hard science classes were predominantly “chew and spit” exams where we had to memorize facts, formulas and calculations, and I dreaded whenever I had to attend a science class. This extended to college, where my worst grades are in my mandatory physical/natural science classes. And, yes, while I am at fault for my poor grades — for if I fully understood physics rather than memorized things for the purpose of passing an exam, I’m sure I would have done better — much of the interest for these subjects must be created by teachers and the curriculum. It is the teacher that introduces many of these subjects for the first time to students all over America.
How can a student become interested in a subject (any subject) if the teacher and the curriculum doesn’t encourage general understanding? And how can a child be interested and curious in a subject if they can not understand it, let alone analyze it?

Yes, the system may be easy, but the cost of choosing such an inefficient teaching system is a poor education system. It hardly encourages learning, and results in a botched generation of students (if you can even call them that) who go to college simply to get better jobs who are incapable of analysis, higher level thinking or intellectual conversation.

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Schedule!

Fall 2009 Classes for SUNY Geneseo started in Monday, and today I finalized my classes, which means I have been hard at work reorganizing my calendar, ordering my books, fixing my dorm and deciding when to blog. Yes, that is right, I will be attempting th put time aside to blog.

This semester, I will be taking a total of 6 courses that amount to 19 credits. The classes are as follows:

Asian Theater Survey
International Politics
American Politics
Sociology 100
Public Speaking
Astronomy 100 (and subsequent Lab)

Most of the classes are more lax than most, so we’ll see how the year turns out. I will also be doing my regular CKI stuff, which gives me a grand total of…

a lot of work.

I have yet to actually decide on the dates I will blog, but they will most likely be Tuesday and a to-be-determined-other-day.

In any case, I wanted to make this general announcement to say that I am still alive, I am still working on a health care post, I have an awesome schedule and I love lamp. And my room. My room is friggin awesome.

Also, I am shamelessly advertising my brother because he is an awesome artist and you all should commission from him:

Awesome right? Yea, you know it is. So go, ask him what his prices are, and be amazed at the work of a 16 year old kid. You can contact him via his email: apple_cannon@hotmail.com, or contact me to contact him!

Okay, that’s all for today. I’ll see you guys when I actually BLOG.

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Hello everyone. With the start of a new day is the start of a new… blog post! I’m continuing with the series I started yesterday (Books that Mint would very much like you to read), so I hope you enjoy its new addition.

Beyond that, nothing much has happened. I will be going off to Alabama tomorrow, but never fear! I will be alive and (hopefully) sound enough to blog. Even if there isn’t an internet connection, I will use the power of my blackberry to write fantastical posts.

Books that Mint would very much like you to read.

By Jo aka Mint

NOTE: I am not a teacher, author, professional writer, librarian or otherwise. I am just a very big fan of children’s books, whether I read them to myself, read them to others or have them read to me. Also, I’m limiting all authors/illustrators to the “Picture Book/Children Book” genre (aka: no chapter books, if that wasn’t obvious already)

Day 2 – Shel Silverstein

I discovered Shel Silverstein many years ago, back in second or third grade, when my teacher gave me the book The Giving Tree. It remains, to this day, my favorite book by Shel Silverstein, but certainly not the only book that I have read from him. When I tried looking for him in my school computer, I was unable to venture into any site that had his named, and I learned in 5th grade that Shel Silverstein had written various articles for Playboy, which put his name in the “banned” section of our internet.

In any case, Shel Silverstein has given me many good hours under a tree. I find his art to be very simple and easy to comprehend, especially when I was a child. In a way, I felt like I could really understand the unrealistic/cartoon-ish art style that he displayed in poetry books such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and picture books such asThe Missing Piece Meets the Big O, and I had a certain appreciation for reading his rhyming words (which are very unlike Dr. Seuss’, in my opinion). There is always a sense of a satisfied conclusion or completeness in his books that do not necessarily have to be happy, but are filled with some sort of “finale” that makes me feel as if the story could not have ended any other way.

Shel Silverstein’s works always reach something deeper than the surface, even after I have read them over and over again (on the other hand, there is a particular college student I can think of off the top of my head who has read The Giving Tree for the first time in his life). They may not be as thought-provoking as the other books, but Shel Silverstein is incredibly good at leaving this “good vibe” feeling in you for a while, if not the rest of the day.

Silverstein is best known as a children’s book writer, but now that I am older, I am eager to see his other literary works (some novels/books and screenwritings have peeked my interest as of the late). When I went to Barnes and Nobles yesterday, I did make a vague attempt to search for his non-picture book pieces, but eventually went back to the children’s section (Barnes and Nobles Jr.!) to re-read his work.

As I had mentioned earlier, my favorite book from him is The Giving Tree, which is about a boy’s relationship with a tree, and how it develops over time (aka, as the boy grows up). I think it’s an incredibly touching and self-less piece, and I have read it to many kids (probably as much as I had it read to myself by others). My brother’s favorite book is The Missing Piece for the simple reason that the main character (an incomplete “circle”) looks like Pac-Man (it is a good read though).

Other books are included below:

Falling Up
The Giving Tree (My Favorite)
A Light in the Attic
Who wants a cheap Rhinoceros
The Missing Piece (My Brother’s Favorite)
Where the Sidewalk Ends
A Giraffe and a Half

For a full list of his picture books, you can find it atshelsilverstein.com (an equally surprising domain). I have yet to know of a library that does not have at least one of his books (usually The Giving Tree or Where the Sidewalk Ends), and if they don’t have it, it means it’s usually been taken out.

As always, go forth and happy readings! 😀

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Eh. Just keep reading. Nothing special to talk about today. OH, I did upload those cosplay pictures in the cosplay section of mint cafe, so feel free to look at them (and my other previous costumes).

Currently Listening To: Whatever is on the Starbucks speakers at the moment.
Currently Eating: Nothing
Currently Drinking: Green Tea Lemonade
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (finished the game, but didn’t max out characters)
Currently Working On: CKI Stuff
Current Mood: Calm / Relaxed
Picture of the day

I was in Barnes and Nobles today (in fact, I’m in Starbucks now, doing the writer thing and buying a cup of green tea lemonade while I blog), when I decided to go through the children’s section. This is something I do often at libraries and bookstores, because I like to see what kind of variety these bookstores/libraries have for children, and because picture books / children books hold a special place in my heart. I feel that, as adults, we can learn as much from children’s books as we can as kids, and it’s definitely worth a second glance when you’re 10 or 20 years older.

So, after flipping through some classic children’s books, I came to the decision that I would do my very best to encourage friends, family and readers of this blog to go to a local library or bookstore and pick up a children’s book to read. They’re very short and grammatically easy, but are filled with everything good in a book. And besides, we often forget as adults that we were children many years ago, and it is always wonderful to go back and read long-forgotten books. After all, we’re all children on the inside (or so I like to think… maybe some of us are still children on the outside :P).

If you are never going to pick up a children’s book every again (doubtful as that may be), please just do so this week. My original thought was to have a book per day, but there are so many books from a variety of authors, that it would take me at least half a year of daily blogging to satisfy me. And, as wonderful as that would be, there are plenty of other things I want to complain about (Economics, women, political science, men, history, hair, computer science, gaming, ect), so I decided to spend a day on a particular artists. On the last day, I’ll probably have a longer post to fill in multiple misc books from various authors that have yet to be named.

These are not books that you should or have to read, by any means, so a name like that would not be fitting. Instead, I have come up with the name you will now see below:

Books that Mint would very much like you to read.

By Jo aka Mint

NOTE: I am not a teacher, author, professional writer, librarian or otherwise. I am just a very big fan of children’s books, whether I read them to myself, read them to others or have them read to me. Also, I’m limiting all authors/illustrators to the “Picture Book/Children Book” genre (aka: no chapter books, if that wasn’t obvious already)

Day 1 – Chris Van Allsburg

Van Allsburg has been, is, and probably will always be my favorite children’s book author/illustrator because of his beautiful artwork and interesting stories. I first discovered him in my 4th grade class, when we all read Jumanji (that’s right, Van Allsburg wrote the story), and rediscovered him in my 5th grade class, when I chose him as the concentration of my very first “Author Study.” I think my teacher did a double take when I chose the author, because the majority of my class had chosen other, more “well-known” authors, whereas Van Allsburg was not as “famous.”

In any case, Chris Van Allsburg is very big for having stories that are very “out of the ordinary.” His books always include an element of either magic or dreams (or both), and the main character often “discovers” something, or “learns” something through his or her experience through the magic that has been thrusted upon them in these books. For example, in The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, the main character must find a dog that has ran away. While searching, the main character realizes he must trespass/enter a magician’s home and, through his adventuring, the main character learns more about the existence of magic than he has ever hoped to.

One of my favorite parts of Chris Van Allsburg’s books is that I am always discovering, realizing or learning SOMETHING whenever I re-read his books. I have a completely different interpretation, or I pick up on some of his humor, which I would not have otherwise noticed. For example, I did not understand irony in 5th grade the way I do now, and reading his book The Sweetest Fig a second time definitely opened me up to the more complex side of Van Allsburg’s books.

Two of my favorite books from Chris Van Allsburg are The Widow’s Broom, which is about a widow who comes to possess a witch’s broom that is no longer able to fly but still has magic properties, and The Sweetest Fig, which is about an uptight dentist who discovers a fig that turns his dreams into reality (his sleep-dreams, not his aspiration-dreams). However, he has a variety of books, many of which have reached mainstream popularity in some way, shape or form. Below are some examples:

Jumanji – adapted into a movie (with Robin Williams and all)
The Polar Express – adapted into an animated movie
Zathura – adapted into a movie
The Stranger
The Wretched Stone (This is also a really great story, WITH MONKIES)
The Sweetest Fig – My Favorite
The Witch’s BroomKawarazu‘s Favorite
The Z was Zapped (an interesting visual interpretation of the alphabet)

For a full list of books that Chis Van Allsburg has written, visit his site at chrisvanallsburg.com (yea, real surprising domain). His books can be found in most to all libraries in a variety of amounts (in the Barnes and Nobles in Forest Hills, NY, there is only one book, but I know that the Flushing Library and Chatham Square Library both have most of his books).

😀 Happy Reading!

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So I’m writing this on my way home from good ol’ New York City (and publishing when I get back to good not-as-ol’ Geneseo). We had our District Officer Training Conference (DOTC) for Circle K this weekend, so it has been a very hectic time for me. DOTC is when the newly elected Board of a District is trained (self-explanatory, I know), and it’s a big bonding time. It’s also when the first real board meeting takes place, so I had to sit in a board meeting for 7 hours (man, I seem to live just for parliamentary procedure and long board meetings). A great part of being Lieutenant Governor in CKI (that’s my position, if people are still wondering), is being able to work with multiple clubs and really seeing all the work they all do. Plus, you get to really meet and work with some really awesome people. But at the same time, there’s always a great chance of forgetting why you joined the organization in the first place. Circle K IS a community service organization, and it makes me sad that so much of that is thrown away when you take any position above the club level. There are so many officers who do less service because of all the work they have, or all the stuff they have to do. For example, I couldn’t attend the Kidney Walk or Ronald McDonald House because I had to go to this and other Circle K meetings.

The other problem is that it IS a high stress job. The people you work with are not just other officers, but your friends. I think, sometimes, people forget to play with the balance of both, and treat other people in some ways they shouldn’t. I know this week was especially stressful for me because one or more persons treated me like Lieutenant Governor, Josephine and not Josephine, Lieutenant Governor. I do have other needs outside of finishing deadlines.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on. We also listened to a lot of Broadway music, which leads into the next thing. Every year, the board decides upon a “board theme” where everyone represents something from that theme (ex: I would be squirtle in a Pokemon theme). We went through a lot of ideas, including a Disney theme (we also considered Disney villains) and a Starbucks Theme (man, I would have been all over that Starbucks). Anyway, we finally decided upon a Broadway Musicals theme, and I’m Avenue Q (haha, course I choose the one full of porn, sluts and sex). One of my friends, Imran, chose Wicked (a very good choice), which we were singing a lot. Man, we almost had a Wicked board, which shows how much we were talking about and listening to it. But yea, that’s what’s been stuck in my head the whole day, so I’m listening to it on my way home.
And with regards to other stuff, I did NOT get any work done on my costume, which kind of pissed me off, but I should have known better than expecting work to be done during a district board meeting. Anyway, when I get back, I have to start hemming everything and sewing everything and finishing up my costume. It’s almost done, and going well, so I have high hopes to finish before Thursday. I’ll try to take pictures.

Currently Listening To: Defying Gravity (Wicked: The Musical)
Currently Drinking: Coca-Cola Cherry
Currently Playing: Yoshi Island, DS
Current Mood: Tired and Accomplished

One question I get a lot is if I know anyone who is truly altruistic. They think it’s interesting to ask me such a question since I am part of a community service organization (sometimes people fail to realize that Circle K is a service organization, a leadership training club and a social networking system all rolled into one). While there are parts of me that want to say that, yes, I know many altruistic people, the rest of me laughs at the question. Many of the people who do community service are not altruistic, or even kind, and while it’s nice to think that organizations such as Circle K, Roteract and Key Club are full of people who want to improve their homes, schools and communities, it’s not true.

And I’m not saying that they don’t exist. There are people join these organizations for other reasons and then grow to love doing community service and helping others. For example, I joined Key Club because they did the AIDS walk and I got free food during the AIDS walk (I never thought in four years that I’d be building dollhouses and getting pied in the face for this damn club). But many of the people who join these organizations are doing it to say they’re in a community service organization in a resume or in an interview. That’s one huge reason why Key Club in high school is so much larger than Circle K in college (both are community service organizations sponsored by Kiwanis International, an adult organization that specializes in student leadership and community service). Some high schools mandate community service and Key Club is already a very easy solution. And even if service isn’t mandated, many students do it anyway to put it on their resume for college. I know when I was in Key Club that was the easy trick to drag the freshmen into our club.

And I’m not saying these people shouldn’t be allowed to do community service (but the jerks that just joined and never did any service project… I’m going to beat you with a metal bat). Just, Key Club is part of a world where you have to do community service. Circle K has far fewer members, but many to most of them actively participate and want to build a community. In CKI, you want to do community service, despite the classes and the hell and the work.

Where am I going with this? Well, after being in both organizations, I keep seeing more and more people become disinterested in community service. It was great back in Key Club, because so many of them felt they were obligated to do it, but even there, more and more advisors are putting less emphasis on a well rounded application and more emphasis on grades and exams. Yes, getting a 4.0 or a 95 is great, but doing well academically is not a good marker of a well rounded person. In fact, a person receiving straight As without curricular activities lives inside a bubble, and when they realize that it takes more than just grades to make a man, they’ll crumble.

I get many reactions when I mention that I do community service and that I’m part of a community service organization. Mostly shock or some sort of (hopefully pleasant) surprise. Perhaps I don’t fit the image of someone who would do community service. And it goes back to this image of community service being something that’s not normally liked. I mean, criminals and juvenile delinquents do community service, and it’s probably weird to hear that on a Saturday night, I’d pick doing a Relay for Live over partying. But community service is not picking up garbage by yourself on the side of the street. It’s fighting for a cause, or for many causes. It’s doing your part to make someone else’s life a little easier. It’s the smile on a poor, single mother when you give her a Thanksgiving feast, or the eagerness of children when they carry 5 books back for you to read out loud. It’s cleaning up a camp for underprivileged children to have a good summer, or shipping video games to kids in hospitals so they have something to do.

There’s so much immeasurable good that is done through community service. You can’t calculate the amount of people who will enjoy a park after you clean it, or the glowing feeling an oversea soldier gets from a care package.

To give a very personal example, I used to be part of a Head Start pre-school program, which is a government-aided program for children in underprivileged areas (Oakland being one of them). Many of the people who work with Head Start (like teachers and librarians) are volunteers who take the time to stop and teach some kids a thing or two. I enrolled into Head Start at the tender age of four and, I believe, I only stayed a year or two (in my mind, it feels like I spend years there). Head Start was where I developed a very young love for reading and learning, socializing and growing. And yes, it was a long time ago, but the volunteers that came and read to us encouraged me to want to learn, and want to leave Head Start to go to school. My parents were always working or taking care of my brat kid of a brother, and I can only imagine what other things I would be doing if I wasn’t in Head Start (probably staring at cartoons on TV). 14 years later, I still contribute a lot of my love for reading and writing to Head Start (you never know, I might not be blogging if it weren’t for Head Start). My elementary school teachers in Oakland were unmemorable and, I mean, Oakland is already notorious for their bad school system. Were it not for Head Start, I may have just been like “forget learning, I’m going to go pull more heads off of Barbie dolls” and where would I be now?
Anyway (wow that was a long anecdote), the volunteers who read to me will probably never know that they changed the life of a 4 year old girl. The high school student who sent my cousin a care package while she (my cousin) was in the navy will never know how much that care package meant to my cousin, and how uplifting it was for my cousin.

Wow this has gone into a gazillion different directions. The core of this blog post is supposed to be about me being discontent with how other people perceive community service, not about how I get warm fuzzy feeling after reading to a group of kids. One of the problems with community service is there’s no material sense of gratification. When you eat, you get a full stomach. When you study, you get a good grade. When you get money, you buy things. The thing people seem to forget( and I could write a whole other post about this) is that the more instant the gratification, or the shorter work time you give yourself, the more negative consequences there are. The faster you eat, the higher the chance of a stomach ache. The less time you give yourself to study (and, thus, more work in a shorter time), the more stressed you become and the less you retain. The shorter time it takes for you to think about buying something, the higher of a chance you’ll regret it.

Community service, on the other hand, does not give much in the way of real instant gratification. You’re throwing money and time into some work you’ll probably never see the result of. And it doesn’t have to be that way. And here comes the second part of why I’m complaining about this shit. Community service clubs have to actively work to encourage their organization as more than just a place where people throw in time and money. The view of community service as this boring chore is only pushed on by the service clubs that organize them (and this mostly pertains to community service clubs that do service on a broad scale rather than concentrating on just cancer or AIDS or babies. Not saying they’re bad, but the approach to bringing people is different AND because I’ve never actively led one, and I don’t want to comment on something I don’t know about). We literally go up to people and say “Welcome to *so and so* club. We’re a club that goes out and takes your time to do things for other people. Then, we take your money to do other things. You’ll probably never see any results, but that’s what we do!” For us college students, time and money is everything, and we’re not going to give it away that quickly.

If you want something to change, change it yourself. Time doesn’t wait for an Obama of Community Service to come in from the heavens and convince all the college students of the world to change lives.
Which brings me back to why I joined Key Club. I didn’t join it to make a difference in the world, and I know many people who didn’t. I also know many people who went to various events and fell madly in love with community service. Many people (myself included) learned through these organizations are not just about raising money for AIDS. You can do that on your own. It’s about being part of a community that works together. It’s like being a part of an international family, all working for this common goal. Many of my most successful events were social ones, where people got to know each other during a picnic or ice skating fund raiser.

To be continued… on Thursday.

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