Monday, December 05, 2005

Saying Goodbye

I've never been a big fan of farewells. In fact, I have an extremely hard time with them. It will really hit home now because I have to say good-bye to my roommate who is graduating this December.

Anyone who knows me or knew me at Northeastern knows how much I struggled through the first four years of college. Always alternating between home and school, I had an extremely hard transition. My friends at home were the absolute most important thing in my life outside of my mother. My loyalty to them was paramount to a lot of my own success and I found myself riding back and forth on I-90 frequently to juggle the both worlds.

Most of my friends back home went to SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Albany or quickly entered the workforce. They all remained close to home and lived with each other while I separated and came "way" (not really that far) out here. Although they visited often, I always felt this sense of emptiness that my friends from Northeastern could never fill. Maybe I wouldn't let them.

It took me four long years to realize that not very much can happen at home that won't happen again and again and again over the next 50 years. My parents were born and raised there, and the same goes for all of my friends. It's the town no one ever leaves, or at least it feels that way. I always wanted to get out but once I did, I wanted to go back.

For the first time in five years, I actually don't want to go back. This is in part due to the girls I live with. For the first time since I started college, I have a sense of family here that I never even had to try and create. We've lived together for four months and during that time we've all shared something really special.

It is not to say that I didn't love my old roommates, who I lived with for the past four years, with all my heart. I truly love them and accept them completely. Still, I never felt the sense of family that I have now. It would totally figure that I go and meet all these great people and now everyone is graduating.

I always said that I would look back at Northeastern with no regrets because of everything I have gained professionally and intellectually, and my lack of personal ties here could be compensated because of the love and support I have from people back home. Finally, I really believe that I will look back at my time at Northeastern with no regrets because being here these past few months and having the time of my life made it all worth it.

Like I told Tahja last night, I am not sad to leave Northeastern because I love college and never want it to be over. I am sad to leave because I know in my heart there is a very good chance I will lose touch with my friends from here. They have provided me with the best gift that life can offer - experience through diversity of opinion, ethnicity, religion, outlook, economic background, professional opinion and so much more. With that gift, I have a more promising future. I am so thankful for that and for them.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Secret Friendships

I found this editorial really interesting in The Globe today. In a world where almost any activity can be conducted over the internet, haircutting is one of the few exceptions:

"No doubt someone is trying hard to invent the cyber cut. After all, people can have doctor appointments on the Web, attend religious services, and party into the night in chat rooms without leaving the house. Can ''trim-a-little-off-the-top.com" be far behind?

Maybe not. But for now the relationship one has with one's barber or beautician is still about what it's been for a couple of centuries."


I have been seeing that same hair stylist since I was 17-years-old. The relationship I have with her is so interesting because she does know me in a way that a lot of people don't. Outside of that, I have witnessed some of the most ironic things in the chair of her beauty shop over the past five years including September 11th.

September 11 was one of those moments when you never forget where you were and you are absolutely connected to the people you were with on a level that was you are unaware of at the time. Both of us remember me coming in before the shop was open to cut my hair and she had the television turned on because of what she had seen in the early morning. At that point only one plane had hit the towers and people still believed it was some kind of mechanical malfunction.

We watched in silence as the second plane hit and it is a silence that will be etched in my memory forever. As the editorial said:

"Stylist and client may rarely see each other outside the shop, and yet they share an interior journey."

This editorial brought me back. Every time I see her, I know I'll be going there until the day she decides not to cut hair anymore. She is my friend, and the sense of experience in the company of friends is something that is compromised with the advent of television and web-shopping. The editorial was right - barbers, salon stylists - you can't really compromise their friendship.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Environmental Justice

One issue I have become increasingly aware of this semester through excessive research on contamination by General Electric in Schenectady, New York is the notion of environmental justice. In my opinion, GE has done a lot for people across America. (Note: I almost choked when my friend told me over lunch at Uno's that she told an interviewer at American Express that the most admirable business leader in today's world is Jack Welch. We'll save the story surrounding that debate for another day.) Anyway, with all of the good that GE has brought to Americans, they have single-handedly left Schenectady in ruins. I'm not trying to be bitter and I know that the people of my hometown were lazy in their quest to draw outside intiatives into our city for business development, but how could they with GE buying up every enrichment program in our high schools and monopolizing business, including pushing the American Locomotive Company out of the city in 1969? Many older residents in Schenectady draw a handsome retirement check from GE and are sitting on stocks that are worth tremendous value.

Noting all of this, one thing must be said: GE has been polluting our world, like every other major manufacturing industry. Not just polluting our cities, but putting them in danger of grave economical disaster by sitting on some of the most viable properties because the environmental damage beneath them is so bad that they don't want to spend the money to repair it. Meanwhile, somewhere - some man is taking home huge cash bonuses at the expense of lost property revenue (among countless others) in our cities.

In an article in The Globe, found here by Derrick Jackson, he outlines a company similar to General Electric, General Motors. GM does not have the stock that GE does to compete in the global economy, (probably because of their lack of "great" leadership under someone like Welch) but their overall intention is all too familiar:

"GM wants to build Hummers in South Africa. That is
cruel excess in a nation where between one of 10 and one of eight people has the
HIV virus for AIDS and only a fraction can get the drugs to fight the disease.
GM wants to sell them in dense Europe. It is looking into pushing Hummers into
China, which already has plenty of environmental worries without these
mechanical monsters spewing more greenhouse gases into the air."


GM, unlike GE, is withering away because of its lack of innovation. While Japan was pushing to make more fuel-efficient vehicles, GM is still pushing SUV's - another gloating impression of the American way of life. In the end of the GM battle, Americans will lose because their cars aren't of the same quality of Japanese vehicles. (Note: I for one, was raised to only buy American cars - hence, my 1989 GM Cadillac Eldorado.) But where GM fatcats will be hurt, Americans have already suffered. Their continued loss of American jobs is not surprising anymore, it is expected. As a country, we have to move on from this notion of "one-business" town. At the same time, all of these huge conglomerates should worry about the damage they have caused in American cities before moving jobs abroad to save their company. They should start repairing the property they take up, and investing in the cities they've left destitute.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Scared

My friend told me that she already heard from Fordham Law School that she was admitted for August of 2006. How come no one contacted me? :( It makes me so sad but at the same time I am so happy for her. She is so relieved and so passionate about law school. I constantly bugged her with all my questions and I knew 100% that she would get into any school she applied to. I have never done well with competition, but for some people you just have to be happy.

As for me, I'm second guessing law school now. My mom visited last week before I went to Las Vegas and she came with me to a meeting with Professor Dukakis who told her that I had a "strong public policy background." She agrees with him that I should take a year off if I actually get in, before starting. (Her reasons revolve around cost though, I'm sure of it - even though I promised my parents that I will pay for law school on my own!)

I was interviewing the chief executive of Schenectady Metroplex Authority (a county organization dedicated to economic development) tonight for my public policy project and he told me to drop off my resume after I graduate, so maybe I should think seriously about doing something like that. My passion lies in people, not books. But I do love politics - it is so hard when you feel like every decision you make might make or break your life. I try to continue onward with blinders on but every so often things like a job offer will catch you off guard and make you question the path you're on.

With that said, I really really hope that a law school accepts me before Christmas. I would be so happy. "All I want is patience, and I want it right now!!!" - A painting that has been hanging on our front porch for my entire life, totally applicable to this situation.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reflections

When I first discovered that I would be keeping this blog as a part of my Online Journalism class, I was very apprehensive. Although I always wanted to keep a journal of sorts, I usually fall out of touch with writing not long after I begin. At home, I have shelves of journals with only a few pages written in each of them. From the beginning, I had hoped this experience would be different since being in class and looking at this project as an assignment would place writing in the blog higher on my list of priorities.

I enjoyed writing over the course of the semester. At first, when I was trying to limit the scope of the blog to my law school application experience, I found the subject matter confining. After I was able to branch out into political news and current events, I found blogging to be more interesting. It is all about "finding your voice," as Professor Matson told us. It usually isn't very hard for me to find my voice, especially if I am interested in what I am writing about.

I got a lot out of writing, namely viewing how neurotic my thoughts are on screen. I think I come across a lot more irrational in writing than I am in person but I like that. I know that my irrationality is a big part of who I am and I think the blog represents that in a way that my normal personality doesn't.

If I could do anything differently, I would've written a blog solely on my every day life. So often, I wanted to drift off of the topics at hand and talk about myself - ha ha. Honestly, once I started to write, I felt like I wanted to go off on unnecessary tangents that seemed important to me at the time. I also would've tried to write every day from the start. At first, I thought we were only required to write a few times a week but I started to like writing more as I began writing every day in the second half of the semester. By writing every day, more of my "voice" began to surface.

I disliked how often I felt rushed to write because of my schedule this semester. I know that some of my writing doesn't illustrate how much I really love to write because of time restrictions. I wish I had more time for a lot of things.

I think that I will try to continue my blog but it might be difficult over Christmas break. When I come back to school in the Spring, I would like to continue writing for my own sake. I think that blogging has been very therapeutic and look forward to posting about people that directly influence my life, especially my friends and family.

One thing that surprised me was how interested other people can become from what anyone has to say. You know what they say about opinions, every one has them. In issues like politics and current events, it is amazing how personal certain issues can become but at the same time it reminds us of American values and how freedom of thought should be celebrated and not restricted. I think that blogging brings freedom of communication among people and brings some of the life back into relationships that has been lost with the advent of television.

I think blogs are great for journalism in a time where newspapers and television are being bought by mega-media conglomerates. Bloggers are becoming the new watchdog of the media and there is something to be said for the light they are able to shed on the bureaucracy within media outlets today.

Over the course of the semester, I did share my blog with friends especially when I needed guidance with my personal statement. I think they thought my blog was a little dry, probably because their names weren't posted all over the place. My blogging experience was not a narrative of my life, therefore it wasn't the type of blog that would interest the people around me. Sadly, a lot of my friends are not as inclined to follow current events as I am and quickly become bored with the actions of government. (Don't get me started on this.)

Overall, this has been a great experience. I only wish that I had more interesting things to talk about sometimes. In the end, I guess what is truly important was the personal satisfaction gained from writing. I know myself better as a result of keeping this blog and that is more than I can say for a lot of the assignments I've had in college.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Midweek Breakdown

In the midst of completing four research projects for four of my other classes, I had a midweek breakdown this morning. I finally handed in one of the projects yesterday and I am supposed to do a presentation on all my research findings on Friday. What I didn't realize is that the presentation had to be on Power Point!! I haven't used Power Point since I was a junior in high school!!

On top of that my alarm never went off this morning because I set it for 8pm so I missed my Public Policy class. Unbelievable. I'm off to the library now to write a paper on media coverage on Theo Epstein.

Will write more tomorrow after Power Point presentation is completed...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Everybody Loves Oprah

Today's article in The Globe by ReneƩ Graham found here details the latest crazy action in Hollywood in which Oprah becomes a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I love Oprah. I frequently watch her show and I know that she has a lot of political pull in the mainstream world. Just look at what happened with "Mad Cow Disease." But a Nobel Peace Prize? It seems outlandish. Oprah has a lot of money, and she is a great person for giving all that she does but it doesn't seem like her contributions to society really match those of Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama.

Her supporters do offer convincing arguments though:

"Winfrey ''is not just another famous entertainer," says
pro-Oprah movement founder Rocky Twyman. ''She's a friend to the world and a
role model for all people, of any gender, of any race, of any group. Her warmth
as a human being inspires and influences the millions worldwide who watch her
daily, yet never meet her in person.""


While this may be true, Graham presents a great argument in her final thought:


"Surely, many have benefited from Winfrey's
philanthropy, and she deserves to be commended. Still, it's too much of a
stretch to elevate the charitable deeds of a billionaire talk-show maven to the
level of the many Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have toiled tirelessly in
obscurity, and didn't need famous pals, a TV show as bully pulpit, or the
ever-alluring cult of celebrity to make this world a much better
place."

I have to say, I really couldn't agree more. It would be a shame to give this award to Oprah. Although I do love her, the beauty of her work is already seen and appreciated by millions.