Give your reasonable best effort

As this semester is coming to an end I am taking this time to reflect on my first year in college. Im trying to pick out all the preconceived notions I had before joining in on the college student life style. There are some similarities to what I had imagined, to what people had told me, as well as a lot of differences that came as a surprise. There is so much to look over as this past year has been a big one. I will be focusing my reflection in this blog post to the school work I accomplished this past year as a freshman. I could say I am proud of it now though it has taken a minute to feel that way. Looking back at what I have done I cant help but think to myself of all the times I could have done something different like managed my time better or asked more question, and the list goes on. But I have to remember that, of course there is always something more you could have done, especially seeing something you could have done better but a lot of the time you can not see that until you are past whatever situation you are in and can then view the whole picture. It is now all in the past and its learning for the future which I have done a lot of this year and am proud of the person and worker I am becoming and learning from everyday.  There is a quote to all of this that my mom tells me all the time when I have a lot on my plate trying finding it hard to all manage. “Give your reasonable best effort.” My mom stole this quote from my second grade teacher, quoting him on it every chance she gets. I always know when she is about to give me advice and rite this quote she loves so much and it is easy to just dismiss it when I am thinking about so many other things at the moment. But in these moments of reflection I can honestly say that this quote was on my mind quite a bit this year repeating it anytime the work load  seemed to add up quickly. It has brought me peace of mind and I am able to now be happy with the work I have completed because I have indeed, given my reasonable best effort.

Pink Tax

After doing some research on the price difference for mens and womens products got me to thinking over the outcome I found. I compared the price difference between products marketed to men and women of the same brands, mostly for self-care or hygiene products. To find that women, on average pay more for the same product by the same brand. These results did not surprise me in fact I expected them because I have heard of the “pink tax” for a while now. A phrase that is said about the price of certain items, to show that women’s products often cost more than mens products. What I found was for items like shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant the price difference was around $.40 to $.50 for the same product except one said for men and the other said for women. I believe that the marketing for a lot of these products is playing into stereotypes. Stereotypes that say women go shopping more and will buy self-care and hygiene products that are more expensive because they are female. So the stores let this stereotype influence the prices they put on certain products. Retailers play into this as well by how they advertise products an. When you look at an ad or go into the store you can see they push the products geared towards women a lot more than the mens. When I go into target there are many isles with products advertised to women while there may be only one or two isles for products advertised to men. Giving women many more options on products, so they may feel as though they are getting the price for that item when in reality men are buying the same product at a cheaper price. For the products I am talking about with  that have price differences are hygiene products. Because when I looked at other gendered items like t-shirts, multivitamins, and flip flops, I found the prices are the same within the same brands. So this could be due to the sexist idea that women take care of themselves and buy any product to do so, while men take a minimal approach to self care. By not take care of themselves as much and willing to buy the bare minimum to do so. After comparing the prices I found that the “pink tax” still exists and items are being marketed this way because of stereotypes on gender.


A Change Is Needed

I recently watched a Ted Talk by Tyrone Pooles. His talk was on how he built his life back up after an unfortunate injury that left him unable to continue his job as a firefighter. His journey after his accident lead him to finding a problem within our society, which was how the rental housing system worked against everyone who was trying to get a fresh start, to get their lives back on track, and prove that they deserve a second chance in life. He found this needed to be fixed for the greater good, but he would have never known this problem existed without the experience he went through.

Tyrone was a person who lost  just about everything due to an accident. He lost his house, car, job, and his money because of something that was out of his control. He soon became homeless after he got out of the hospital because he was not able to work. Because of this state in his life, Tyrone was lead to a problem where he created a solution that really worked. He had no idea that the rental housing market was an issue for a lot of people trying to get their lives back on track before he went through it himself. But once he figured out what was going on and pinpointed the problem, his new goal became fixing it. After a lot of hard work and life experience, he not only got his life back on track but also helped thousands of others in need. After watching Tyrone Pooles ted talk, It really made me think hard about the way a person can find a problem within society, an idea, or concept, and start reconstructing it into a working system.

This lead me to thinking about an issue that is causing more trouble than good and I would like to see it changed. A system within our society that affects a lot of people and a lot of the time it is not in a good way. I am talking about the way the foster care system is run in the U.S. In my opinion it is an extreme issue that is harmful to the development of a lot of young children. The system is creating harmful environments for children without parents, who have most likely already gone through hard times in their lives. These children are being neglected which has a negative effect on their mental development. There is no attachment to a caregiver in their lives due to the harsh environments they are forced to live in and the amount of times they are being shuffled through the system. In someway this needs to be stopped. The way the whole system is run is not suitable for anyone, especially young kids who are in crucial developmental states in their lives.


Deeper Connections

Going abroad to learn about different cultures is a very important part of a persons growth and development in my opinion. The idea of being immersed in different cultures and languages absorbing all different ways of the world is one of my favorite experiences. It is something that I love and never pass up on an opportunity to do this if I can help it. For example, in my school for senior year we had an exchange student from Hungary for the year. We quickly became friends and hung out a lot. Towards the end of her exchange she invited me to come home with for as long as I could over the summer. I could stay for 3 weeks and decided to make this trip happen for myself.  This experience was one of my favorite things I have done. I am so happy I got to go home with her and absorb every bit of a European life style. It lead me even deeper down this path of obtaining as much as I could about everyones backgrounds. Really being out in the world experiencing all that is out there is a great way to connect to people and build strong connections.

This type of education was stressed heavily in my house while I was growing up. Going to all the local museums and all our bigger city museums around my home, just to visit and see new exhibits is an activity my parents have pushed from a very young age. When we would go on vacation, a museum or some kind of history lesson about where we were visiting was always on the list. It was always a museum exhibition, an old building important to that place, or even a walk through a historical grave yard (as weird as that sounds).  Creating those connections you get by experiencing the history or culture of where you are visiting Is a vital part of expanding the knowledge, creating a well rounded person. It is a part of my education that I find to have helped me a lot in life. Understanding more than what is just around you everyday builds a deeper appreciation for other peoples lives and can connect you to others In a more positive way.

Keeping my work in order

Something I have the most trouble with dealing with is time management. My problem with time managment creates a lot of stress and anxiety in my day to day life. I am mostly talking about keeping myself on a good, well timed out schedule for me that will allow me to get all of my work completed fully.  When it comes to school work I have a hard time planning out and keeping on top of all that comes my way. Apart of the time management that I struggle with is the Splitting up of my work load. I try to work on assignments or studying in little parts so it does not all come down to the last moment but with so much to do that is often not the case. For example, this semester I find myself up until late hours of the night after a full day of classes just trying to fit in my work that is due the next day, especially for big assignments like tests. They say cramming for a test doesn’t work and that is the truth but often times that’s all I find I have time for in my schedule. Somehow I need to change this pattern and separate my time between each class to see the outcome I want and know I can achieve.

Trying to figure out a system, fighting against time and deadlines is a process I need to work out. There needs to be a balance between work and taking time for yourself so you do not crack under the pressure. I have seen some people take 2 very opposite approaches to this same issue. One is to get so stressed out about what you have to complete that you do not sleep to finish all of your work, (which is often times what I find myself doing) and the other is ignoring the problem until the time has passed. So maybe if there is a balance between them of finding the right things to focus on and the others you kind of ignore or not pay as much attention too could help you plan out what is most important and create that well timed schedule. So while reading this blog post, if you have found yourself here at a time in your life and you found away to help yourself please comment so I can try new tactics for myself.

Learning Another Language

 I have always been intrigued listening to people who were able to speak in other languages, fluently, and dreamed about conversing and understanding a foreign language someday. Speaking and understanding another language has always been a personal goal of mine.

My parents lived in Germany for several years, so growing up I heard them occasionally speak German to each other. When we traveled to Germany on vacation, I admired how they could talk casually with their friends, how they were able to order dinner in a restaurant, or buy something at the store. They then had to translate what everyone was saying. I practiced a few words and phrases that my mom taught me and then tried to use them, for example, when I bought a pretzel at the train station or bought a few souvenirs for my friends. It was NOT perfect, but it was exciting to know that they understood what I said in those unfamiliar words.

In elementary and middle school, we had Spanish language lessons for 1 hour everyday. In high school, I decided that I wanted to learn the French language.  I liked the way that it sounded, thought it was very cool. After four years of French class, I realized how little I knew and that I wasn’t able to speak that well . I only understood bits and pieces of a conversation when I heard someone else speak it or heard it on the radio. I live in a town that is very close to Canada so we can pick up a few French speaking radio stations when driving around my town. But what I have come to realize is that I actually do speak and understand other languages, much better than the French I studied.

What I mean is that I found that I have knowledge of other languages through other things that I have studied, grown up with, or been exposed to in various ways, i.e., digital media, math, and the language of medicine, for example. I am a part of Generation Z, so I have grown up with iPhone, laptops, Instagram, snap chat, photoshop, youtube, etc, so I am very familiar with the language of computers or personal digital devices. I feel very “tech savvy” when I help my mother understand Google Docs.  I like math, and have taken math for over 12 years now.  I understand what is meant by functions, fractions, sets, or differential equations. In my senior year, I decided to take a class called Language of Medicine. It turned out to be my favorite class.  I found it very interesting, useful, and that it had really expanded my understanding of the information that I came across in my life everyday. I can now understand many of the medical  terms on my own medical records, when speaking with my doctor or dentist, or even when I am watching a tv show like Gray’s Anatomy.

The more that I am out in the world, I understand that learning another language is so much more than learning to   “Parlez-vous francais?” I have achieved my personal goal of learning another language.  I plan to continue to learn and improve my language abilities, and of course, I will keep the dream alive and try to master the French language…..someday.


Last week I was listening to a guest speaker in one of my classes talk about innovation and creating. Her lecture was all about how she got to where she is today in her career and what paths took her to where she is today. Something from her lecture caught my attention and has been on my mind for a while now. She asked us a simple question of, what do we want to do in our careers? This question is asked of college students a lot but she changed the question up a little. She asked us, what do we want to be involved in the creation of? Just by changing up that question a little bit made me really think and have a new thought processes on picking a career path . It made me rethink the way I look at jobs in general by filling my head with new questions. Such as, how do I want to help the world through my career? or what do I think needs some improving and that I can help with? The new though process opened all new options in my mind that I would like to rethink and explore more options open to me. So I can find something that I would like to be involved in the creation of.

She went on to tell us about a group of young kids she worked with and a creation they came up with. This group of children was in 5th grade and their assignment was to create a helpful product. Their group was supposed to come up with an idea just for this little project but their idea turned out to be very helpful and with help became a real concept. Their idea was a tool to filter the water in flint Michigan due to the lead that has contaminated it. They saw a  problem with how they were getting their water. Where they use all plastic non reusable water bottles for everything which they found wasteful and a problem that need a solution. So their invention was a reusable straw that could filter the water free of lead and it would reduce the use of all of the plastic water bottles. This is in the process of becoming a real tool that will be produced all because of this 5th grade class. They found as a group something they wanted to be apart of the creation process to help others, which I find to be a great thing to be teaching young children.

Pollution at the James River

Over the weekend my friends and I decided to go to Belle Isle and take a hike to enjoy the nice weather we were having in the middle of February. I had been there one time before but never walked around, only looking at it from above. Once we started walking around and traveling along the trails, I saw a problem that I had not seen from far away. I saw that there was a lot of trash. I found it sad that there was so much litter around such a beautiful nature preserve. There were bottle caps, wrappers, aluminum cans, and broken glass everywhere. I even saw plastic elating down the river which is a huge problem. I over heard some people along our hike talking about how just 5 years ago there would be people swimming in the James river without a concern. But today, due to all the pollution that is something you can not due. I then saw signs around the river warning people to not swim in the water because it is too polluted and it is not safe to be in. This is all a man made problem that continues to get worse. All of this pollution was created by humans and their unwilling ness to see the problem in littering.

This pollution by humans is destroying the natural habitat of the wild life that life in the water or near it. They depend on the river and its natural resources to provide for them and sustain their life. Since humans have come through and made it their own, we have started to destroy that for them. Making it almost a dangerous environment for them to live in. We need to become more environmentally conscious before it is too late and the damage that we have created to the earth is irreversible.

This problem is not only local to Richmonds Belle Isle however. It is a problem consuming all parts of the world. If you go to any beach, wild life preserve, or park, you will see litter and pollution all around you. It is always talked about being a major problem but barely anything gets done about it to change it on a day to day basis by everyone. There has to be solutions to fix this problem other wise the damage we have created will be out of our hands. If everyone was more aware of the problem that is infant of us, instead of being blind to the consequences in the future there may be a willingness to help out and hopefully change their way of life.

Moving away

As a person who has lived in a small town my whole life the idea of moving far from home has always intrigued me. My hometown is a very small community where I have known all the people my age since I was about 5 years old. It is a very nice place to live, its right on the water, its close to a bigger city, and it has all those cute small town feelings when you are there to visit. I do like to live in that small little town but moving away from it seemed like something I was always looking forward to since I was little. I eventually did leave when I decided to come to Virginia for school. It was something I thought long and hard about and it just seemed like the thing I wanted to do and what was right for me. People view this mind set, of so eagerly wanting to move away, as me hating the people I live with or hating where I am from. This however is not the case. I love my family and friends and the town where I live, that is not the reason I felt like I needed to leave. People will say things like, “I guess you just needed to move away from your parents” or “I didn’t k now you were that sick of the cold weather” when I tell them I moved so far away from home for school, I will joke with them and say yes, but this is far from the reality. I felt that as a young adult I needed to see what else there was in the world, aside from my small little town. I felt like I needed to take myself out of my comfort zone and meet people with different backgrounds from my own and the people I grew up with. I felt like this moving out of my state would give me a different perspective on the world and be able to view the world through many different people and their beliefs. I have found this to be the case and I am so happy I went out of my comfort zone to see what is beyond my home state. I am very grateful of all the things I learned and experiences I had in my home town but expanding on all of those was important for me and the only way I felt like I could do that would be if I left and expanded my connections in the world.

Preparing for the “real world”

In the past year and a half a big part of my life and I’m sure many other people around the age of 18 has been the topic of college. It is a big decision for a lot of people of this age. With many weighted question and concerns crowding the minds of high school seniors. Each new school year we enter into is supposed to be preparing us for the following year of school, it is supposed to prepare us for more challanging test, ideas, experiences, and changes in our lives. We are taught that if we stick to the schedules given to us by our teachers each year we are in school we will succeed and be prepared for our future endeavors. I have found that to be the case when going through all 4 years of high school, we take one required class after another until you graduate, and at that point you are supposed to know what it is that you want to do with your life. For some people this works, but for a lot of people I have talked to after graduating high school, myself included, had no idea what to study in college because of lack of experiences and opportunities from high school. We did not really get a chance to see what is out there for us to do. I feel like high schools need to get students more involved with the “real world” and people who have interesting jobs. There needs to be more connections made between high school students and what comes after their 4 years there. These students can of course research all they want on major, jobs, and other interests but when it comes down to it, reading about a job and actually experiencing it are very different. Actually seeing all the work that goes into it and  what experiences get you prepared to take it on, can be very beneficial to someone interested in a certain job, field, or someones who’s trying to get an idea of what they want to do with their life. Personally I feel like creating connections like these in high  school would really help a lot of students create a path for themselves.