Posts in: Block A

Writer’s Block

This past block has reminded me that whatever form of writing I am working with, involving some kind of personal experience in my writing made the writing process considerably easier. I don’t know if the writing was better, but writing personal narratives always took less time to write and felt like less work to write. I know this is probably a good thing, but I can’t help but feel worried about what I would do when I have to write something that I cannot involve personal things in. 

Looking back at this semester, the hardest thing to write was my research proposal for cultural psychology. It took me days to write and every time I worked on it, I found myself spending hours just trying to get motivation to write. Going forward, I want to find a way to enjoy writing without involving personal experiences. I have a long journey ahead of me in the realm of higher education…which inevitably means a lot more papers to write—most of which I probably can’t include personal experiences in. 

I’m worried for the future. I mean maybe I haven’t found my “scientific” muse yet. But damn I wish I had. 

Working-class Problems

I read a paper that made me angry today (but not really today because I wrote this a while back). 

It talked about working class people versus middle people and the differences in the struggles we face. I enjoyed the paper in the beginning. It talked about the issues low-income people face trying to succeed in America. It had terms to define what I was feeling in a more academic way and research to back up that these feelings were real. It felt pretty progressive until I reached the discussion part of the paper. 

Something the paper mentioned as an “answer” to low-income people being disproportionately affected by systemic issues was “to provide them with cultural capital.” At some point, I know that this ideology was the “standard” for progressives but I have always resented it a bit. I think it’s demeaning to assume that all low-income people and POC (as this is usually applied to them as well) don’t know anything about what it takes to make it. The “tools” we need to succeed. Yeah, we may not know anything about croquet or whatever, but those things don’t really apply to the real world. 

The reality is that many (not ALL this is important) know the tools we need to have and are taught about them. However, that doesn’t mean we know how to use them. All my life I’ve been taught how to do things so I can survive but I never felt like I knew how to reproduce these things myself. 

Just providing cultural capital to marginalized societies is not as productive as people think. I don’t know the answer specifically but I do know that that isn’t it.

Decolonizing STEM

This class has reminded me that I have a long way to go before I decolonize my mind. Cultural psychology highlights how the field of psychology, and science as a whole, uses WEIRD (White, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) as the norm for majority of our research. They are the “baseline,” the “ruler” for which we use to measure other societies.

This phenomenon isn’t always transparent, up in our faces. It can be subtle, like in the way papers phrase non-WEIRD societies’ data as “unique from” or a “deviation from the norm”.

Growing up, we always heard that actions speak louder than words, that what you do means more than what you say. And, to some extent, I still believe that to be true. But, how can we really believe that constantly reinforcing language that says one group of people are “normal” and that all others are “not normal” has no consequences?

Students look at these papers that have been published and revered by the scientific community and use them as the examples for their own papers. Researches are literally setting the blueprint for future scholars to be problematic.

Of course, with this, it is important to understand that no one and nothing can truly be unproblematic. Consistent work and intention, along with mistakes, go into this process. STEM has had a lot of problems but has also made a lot of progress. However, we should never be satisfied with being understanding at one point in time. Our community can and should do better.

Stem During Coronavirus and Protests

I don’t think I ever anticipated how difficult taking a stem class online would be. My last two blocks were humanities classes and not to say that they weren’t difficult, they definitely were, but for different reasons.

Trying to sit down and focus on watching lectures, taking notes, learning new terms (academic ways of describing feelings that BI-POC and POC already know), and making presentations took more effort than it ever required in the past. On the one hand, classes helped me get a handle on my internal schedule (time isn’t real in quarantine folks). However, on the other, I feel more and more exhausted.

Cultural psychology is so crucial to decolonizing the field of psychology, but I can’t help but feel like classes are distracting us from what is important. The coronavirus is still as dangerous as ever, but the government is still opening businesses instead of giving relief funds to those in needs. Black people are STILL dying at the hands of the police. Native Americans are disproportionately being affected by the virus. Duterte is trying to pass the anti-terror bill.

The world is in flames. It has been for a while.

So how can anyone stay focused on school right now? Every minute I spend focusing, I lose time that I used to sign petitions, calling departments, and donating the small amount of money I can.

I just want to lay down and cry because I want to care about college, I do. I spent so much time and effort working on trying to get where I am now, my parents did as well. But I can’t. I can’t will myself to care about anything but the violence I see online.

How do we move on from here?

Day Three!

We had another great day! Our first event of the day was a presentation by Frank Bi, a google trainer. He taught us how to maximize our efficiency with Google. I learned that if you google a word, and don’t want something to pop up, you can add “-the word,” and it won’t show up. He gave us the example of if you wanted to search for coffee, but did not want Starbucks, you could type “Coffee -Starbucks.” If you did this, the results would not include Starbucks. I thought this was really cool, and definitely helpful. We also learned about knowledge graphs, and that all countries have their own domain.

In the afternoon, we went to the Newseum. This is an incredible museum, and I wish we had more time at it. It has six floors, and is very interactive. I stayed on the first floor for over an hour! My favorite exhibit was on the Stonewall Riots and LGBTQ history.

 I am grateful for Jim Burke, the Director of Summer Session, and our professor, Corey Hutchins, for making this trip possible. I learned a lot in this course, especially on the trip.

I asked Jim how a trip like this is possible, and he explained that he had funds left over in his field trip budget, and talked to Corey about what kind of practicum-type trip we could take. Jim said that he wanted to capitalize on Colorado College faculty and alumni living in D.C. He wanted our experience to be more than just a tour. “If you are not applying the theory, it’s just a tour,” said Burke. 

“Leveraging our resources for the best reason… the student experience.” said Burke.

Go Tigers!

Our Final Day in DC

After our breakfast this morning at Catholic, we went to attend a class on how to best use Google. Once again, Sam had local connections with one of the women running the program at the Medill School of Journalism-a school of. Northwestern University. Our teacher for the morning was Frank Bi, who is a data analyst for Topics covered included how to remove words from searches, searching only from selected sites, how to sort images, how to reverse search an image, Google Trends, and finally, Google Sheets.

After our two our crash course, we originally planned to go to a nearby District Taco for lunch, but with a line out the door, the decision was quickly made to go to the Mediterranean restaurant next door. With forty five minutes to kill, Jamie, Max, and Sam continued their scooter adventures, while Julia, Robert, David-Elijah, and Sanya explored a local shop and walked to the museum.

In my opinion, the Newsuem is the best museum and it is a shame that its future is up in the air. Lucky for us we got two hours to explore the building that has exhibits including, but not limited to: the Berlin Wall, the FBI, Jon Stewart, 9/11, the freedom of the press, the role of TV and radio, and a display with the front page of each state’s most prominent paper for the day.

Our time at the museum was much too short, but we had to go for one last Metro ride to get to the airport. Security was a breeze and we got to our gate with plenty of time to spare. Shortly we’ll be boarding to head back to Denver, bringing to an end our trip and experience in Intro to Journalism.

Day 2

After our meeting with Thom Shanker from the New York Times, our resident tour guide Sam Seymour suggested we head over to the White House so the class could see some of the sights of downtown DC. The heat and humidity started to get to us as we were admiring the Washington Monument so we decided to head to lunch a little earlier then planned.

Sam took us to his favorite sandwich shop which was followed by a couple of quick trips to Starbucks and scooter rides by Jamie and Max. Some of us also went to a street festival going on outside featuring crafts from local artists.

Dinner was at the 801 Restaurant; it was absolutely delicious and was highlighted by conversation with CC alumni who are currently working in journalism. Sam and I talked most of dinner with Nick Wing who gave us advice on getting into the industry. Due to the engaging conversation, dinner lasted well past the planned 8 pm. After, some of us decided to go see the monuments at night before getting ready for our last day of class tomorrow. Over all, a splendid day!

Day Two!

Hi Tigers!

We started off our day with breakfast at Catholic University, the dorm where we are staying. We then headed over to the New York Times and met with Thom Shanker, the assistant Washington editor for the New York Times. He answered our questions, described the inner workings at in his department and advised us on potential internships with the New York Times. He was generous with his time, and made sure that we had answers to every question we asked.

We had some extra time, so we walked over to the White House and then to the Washington Monument. Jamie Bechta, a rising senior, had never been to Washington, D.C., and was thrilled to see the White House.

“The White House was amazing to see in person!” said Bechta.

I was really excited about visiting the NPR headquarters. My parents and I love NPR, and I grew up listening to it almost every day.

The NPR building was incredible! After going through security, we were given a tour of the building, and got to meet with Scott Simon, Peter Breslow, Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and Dana Cronin, a Colorado College alumni. Everyone was super friendly, and gave us great advice, both for journalism and for life. Dana talked to us about how to pitch ideas, and how it’s not as scary as we might think. 

Lulu Garcia-Navarro was very articulate, and I really enjoyed listening to her. She talked to us about how important it is to talk to real people, not just the people that you would expect to hear from. She told us how journalism can sometimes be hard, because you might be talking to someone in their worst moment.

Peter Breslow sat down with us and went over our final projects. Corey, our professor, had put us into three groups, and we presented our projects to Peter. The assignment was to nationalize a local issue, and pitch the idea to Peter. The three pitches were about the bike lane controversy, a rumored-Manitou Springs cult, and the high rape rate in Colorado Springs. Peter offered us great advice, and encouraged us to reach out to new sources.

We had an alumni dinner at 801 Restaurant, where we got to meet former Colorado College students. I really enjoyed talking to Michael Meyer, a freelancing journalist. He talked to us about his work with podcasts, and how he valued his liberal arts education from Colorado College. I also got the chance to get to know Peter more. He’s taught at Colorado College before, and I hope to get the opportunity to take one of his classes in the future.

It was a great day, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

Day One!

Hi fellow Colorado College students!

We’ve arrived in D.C! We checked into our dorm at Catholic University and ate dinner at Busboys and Poets. We are currently brainstorming questions to ask the incredible men and women that we are meeting tomorrow! I’m very excited to meet Nick Wing former senior reporter for The Huffington Post. He focused on social inequality, which is something that I might want to pursue in the future. We are meeting with the New York Times tomorrow, as well as going to the NPR Headquarters, where we will present our final projects. My group is focusing on why the rape rate in Colorado Springs is disproportionate to other crimes in Colorado Springs. I am looking forward to the feedback that NPR will provide.

We are continuing the fun with a dinner with local Colorado College alumni in the journalism and news profession.



Intro to Journalism Reflection

Since beginning Introduction to Journalism for Summer Session this year on May 29, one thing that has changed in my news consumption is that I realize just how many news publications exist, especially in the state of Colorado and even just in Colorado Springs. For example, I learned during our visit to The Colorado Springs Independent that Manitou Springs has its own paper, The Pikes Peak Bulletin.

I began to focus on reading these smaller, more local publications because I found they have more impact on my life as opposed to other, national ones.

Another thing that I have learned in class is the inverted pyramid model, which shapes how I read news articles. Before I used to think that if I was looking at something on the News app on my phone I’d need to read the entire article to get the story; now, if I’m in a rush or not super interested in the story, I can usually just read the lede and the first couple of paragraphs to know the important details of the story and move on. There is simply too much news to sit down and try and read every article that is published online.

One last observation: Before, I would not consider paying to read the news online. However, after learning about the financial issues journalism faces, and reading in The Elements of Journalism about how important journalism is for our democratic society, my view on that is changing. I am debating whether I should start subscribing to the online editions of different papers including The Gazette here in Colorado Springs, The New York Times, and The Washington Post because it costs very little per month, I get the news, and support a cornerstone of our country.