What is Focused Inquiry?

I remember the first day walking into UNIV 111 not know what the class was, all I knew is that it was a university requirement. What stood out to me the most was the size of the class and the classroom itself. All my classes were lecture classes that contained anywhere from 100-300 students, so UNIV definitely stood out to me because it was like a high school classroom with very few students. Already I felt a little less anxious because the setting was what I was used to.

The first day of class we were asked a simple question, yet everyone seemed to have different answers. The question was “What is Focused Inquiry?”. I did not know what the class was, but my answer to the question was it’s an English class. Professor Galligan made a tag cloud with all of our answers to his question, but he didn’t tell us if our answers were right or wrong.

To me, focused inquiry is much more than just an English class. Focused inquiry is a class focused on improving one’s writing skills through a variety of genres, oral presentations, and collaborative learning.

At first, when I was taking UNIV 111 I was frustrated by the amount of work I was doing for the class as well as how time consuming the class was. With all the other classes I was taking I had to learn to manage my time properly. I remember reading the previous students’ letters that were addressed to us the most thing that stood out to me was how many students were saying this is not an easy class, however, if you put in the effort and time it’s very manageable. Also, one student said that this class will help you grow as a writer. When I read that I had no idea what they meant, but now I see. The form of writing I did in this class helped me to discover who I am as a writer and my voice. Also, like professor Galligan always says, I learned to go deeper in my writing to better connect with my audience. Overall, the type of writing I did in this class was one I wasn’t used to because in high school there was a specific “format” we had to go by, however in this class I decide everything about the piece. In conclusion, out of all my classes this year, this one was by far the one I learned the most from and I will carry the skills learned in this class throughout my life and future career.  My main advice is to trust the process.

Mary Hart Syndrome

A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings, and in levels of consciousness. As we all know, seizures can be triggered by many things and it’s different for everyone. I myself have had a seizure when I was 8 years old. Did you know that some seizures are induced by a Specific Television Performer, Mary Hart? A neurologist reports in a medical journal that a woman got epileptic seizures by hearing the voice of Mary Hart, this is known as Mary Hart syndrome. Mary Hart is an American television personality and was the long-running host of the syndicated gossip and entertainment round-up program Entertainment Tonight, which is the longest-running entertainment magazine show of all time. She was also Miss South Dakota 1970.
“It was very dramatic,” said Dr. Ramani, who said he studied the seizures when the woman heard Ms. Hart’s voice in a laboratory test. The doctor said she would rub her stomach, hold her head “and then she would look confused and far away, the expression in her eyes, she looked like she was far away and out of it.” The test confirmed that Ms. Hart’s voice set off the abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that mark an epileptic seizure, said Dr. Ramani, a professor of neurology at the Albany Medical College.
Symptoms of Mary Hart syndrome included an upset stomach, a sense of pressure in her head and mental confusion, said Dr. Venkat Ramani, who reports the case in today’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
You’re probably wondering how did this occur? Dr. Marc Dichter of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, an expert on epilepsy, said of the seizures, “It’s the pitch and quality of the voice as a sound, rather than likely what she’s actually saying.” This is what caused the seizure.
When I heard about this disorder I was very intrigued and wanted to learn more. It’s fascinating how someone’s voice can trigger a whole seizure. Out of curiosity what I did was I went and listened to Mary Hart’s voice on the same video recording that caused the women to have a seizure to see if I may have Mary Hart syndrome, thankfully I did not have a seizure. It’s amazing how the body and brain work. There are so many different disorders and each one is more interesting than the last.

“Tasgut bas” (“Just fall, that’s all”)

April 11th & 12th are days that will go down in history for Sudan. For 30 years Sudan has been controlled by dictator, Omar al-Bashir. He was first elected in 1989 and now has finally stepped down after 30 years due to pressure from protestors not just in Sudan, but all around the world. On December 19th in the city of Atbara in Sudan, a movement started in hopes of freedom, peace, and justice. The reason why this movement took place was because of the rising costs of bread and fuel in Sudan. Also, the lack of money available in banks and ATMs around the country. Citizens are starving and can’t provide for themselves, nor their families. Due to these conditions, the people of Sudan decided to revolt against the government and to overthrow the regime, Omar al- Bashir. The protests continued for months all around Sudan protestors would go out every day to protest in hope of the fall of the regime Omar al-Bashir. The protests even spread worldwide with thousands of people in America, Canada, France, Australia, UK, etc. protesting. On April 6th however, the people of Sudan were so feed up since no change was happening and more lives were being taken that they amassed in front of the army headquarters. As the protesters refused to leave, while braving live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas, state media said on Thursday morning that the army would make an “important announcement”. On April 11th they announced that Omar al-Bashir will be stepping down. The people were cheering in the streets. However, it was all too good to be true because later on in the day, in a televised address to the nation, it was announced that Ibn Auf will be taking over since he overthrew Omar al-Bashir. Ibn Auf, who Bashir appointed as first vice president in February, also said that the military council would run the country for a two-year transitional period. He also declared a three-month state of emergency, suspended Sudan’s constitution and imposed the month-long curfew, from 10 pm to 4 am. The people were even angrier now since they were tricked and continued to protest on the streets until democracy was served. On April 12th, Ibn Auf announced that Fatah-al-Burhan Abdel Rahman will be replacing him. The fact that the people of Sudan have taken down not one, but two dictators is incredible. I just hope that change and democracy will be coming soon. It amazing to see what my country can accomplish I just wish I was there to be part of the revolution in Sudan.

Lies I was told about college

With only 4 weeks left, my freshman year is coming to an end. For all that’s happened this year, I can definitely say the days and even month flew by. I didn’t expect college to be like this whatsoever. I feel like I was told many lies about college, mainly from my high school teachers. They made college seem like it was the hardest thing ever when in reality it’s not that hard. To be honest with you, I think college in a way is easier than high school. The biggest and most false thing I was told by my high school teachers was that professors don’t care about you and want you to fail. This statement is completely false because most professors are actually really nice and have many opportunities for students to succeed in their classes. Also, they can help with many other things even if they’re not class related. Another lie that I was told is professors don’t use PowerPoints. All of my professors use PowerPoints and they even post them online, so we can access them later. Also, if you have a question or are confused about something they will 100% stop to help and explain something to you. I would hear this a lot from my teachers “Professors never give you a study guide”. This is 100%false because all of my professors have given us a study guide or at least an outline of what’s going to be on the test. Also, most of the time their tests are very similar to the study guides if you know what I mean. It wasn’t this easy in high school or for me at least. Also, you can pretty much cram for a test and still get an A. Everyone told me that in college you actually need to understand everything to do well on the test and that I will need to study over long periods of time. I was very scared when I was told that since I’m a big procrastinator, however, as of right now I am able to cram and still get As on my tests. Overall, my high school teachers tried to scare me about college when in reality it’s not as hard as it seems. At the moment, I have all As, while still having a social life and downtime. My dad always says if you put your mind to it anything is possible.

Ethical Reasoning

Ethical reasoning pertains to the rights and wrongs of human conduct. Each person has standards that are defined by their personal values which come into play when the person faces certain dilemmas or decisions. Our new unit is based on ethical reasoning, so to start off the unit last class we were looking at ethical dilemmas and what we would do if faced with these problems. It was a very interesting class because I got to see what I would do in these situations and what my classmates would do as well.

He started off the class by asking us the question “What fictional charter do you admire most? Why?”. The characters that people chose represented what characteristics they valued or that represent them. Then, we were given the trolley problem. Where you are the driver of a trolley that is speeding down a track and cannot be stopped. In your path are five workers on the track. You have the option to flip a switch and lead the trolley down a different track, avoiding the five workers.  However, the second track has one worker on it. Should you flip the switch? This problem enhanced much debate in my class and personally, if I was faced with this problem I would not flip the switch. I was one of the few people that said they wouldn’t flip the switch and my reasoning behind it is I would be committing murder. I have no say in deciding which lives are more valuable than others. Also, I think my body could never actually flip the switching knowing what my actions would do. I get that I would be a hero and end up saving more lives, however, we don’t know the situation of the other person. What’s interesting is when the scenario was alternated a little bit. A trolley is running down a track and cannot be stopped.  In its path are five workers.  You are on a bridge where the trolley will pass, and the only way to stop it is to throw something heavy in front of the trolley. The only heavy object around you is a large man walking by, so the only way to save the five workers is to push the man off of the bridge and in front of the trolley. Should you push him? This time most of the class said they would not push the man. I agree, I also would not push the man, but it’s crazy how people’s answers changed. Overall, ethical reasoning has a lot to do with our decision making.

Alien Hand Syndrome

Has your hand ever flinched and caused you to do something out of your control? If so, then you might have experienced for a brief second what someone with alien hand syndrome goes through. Alien hand syndrome is a rare neurological condition that causes one hand to act on its own free will. Sometimes one leg is affected, though this isn’t as common. This condition is very interesting to me because during these episodes one’s hand feels foreign to its owner and seems to move deliberately to carry out tasks that are unintentional. It’s amazing how one’s body can go against itself. Also, It’s as though one’s hand is being controlled by someone else or has a mind of its own. Just by reading the name of the syndrome I was interested and wanted to learn more about it.

What causes alien hand syndrome? Well, alien hand syndrome develops in people after a stroke, trauma, or tumor. It’s sometimes associated with cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and brain aneurysms. How this happens is Alien hand syndrome is linked to brain surgeries that separate the two hemispheres of the brain. Brain scans show that people with alien hand syndrome have isolated activities in the contralateral primary motor area. This affects intentional planning systems and can cause spontaneous movements.

The main symptom of alien hand syndrome is the inability to control the hand as it acts independently. The hand’s ability to complete tasks is very fascinating. One’s hand may touch the face, button a shirt, or pick up an object, sometimes repeatedly or compulsively. Also, it’s able to do difficult tasks such as closing a drawer that the other hand just opened or unbuttoning a shirt that you just buttoned. Overall, it’s very intriguing how one’s hand is able to act in such a way.

As far as diagnosing alien hand syndrome, it’s diagnosed through observation and evaluation. Alien hand syndrome is difficult to diagnose because it’s a neurological disorder that lacks a psychiatric component. Sadly, there is no cure for alien hand syndrome. However, it can be treated or managed using muscle control therapies such as botulinum toxin (Botox) and neuromuscular blocking agents. Also, mirror box therapy, cognitive therapy techniques, and learning task behavioral therapies can help manage symptoms. Sometimes time is all one needs to treat alien hand syndrome. In conclusion, alien hand syndrome is a very rare condition and with no cure just treatments to manage symptoms.



Have you ever been told you have an OCD or thought you did? But what really is an OCD. The abbreviation OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD is a chronic disorder usually lasting for long periods of time, in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

As of right now, scientists don’t have a definite cause as to why a person might develop an OCD. However, there are many theories regarding the cause of OCD. One being biological factors, which can be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, faulty brain circuitry or genetic defects. A genetic factor may also be a factor regarding the cause of OCD, which has been shown through many studies. In a study done in 2001, by a meta-analytic review reported that a person with OCD is 4 times more likely to have another family member with OCD than a person who does not have the disorder.

Symptoms of OCS can range anywhere from mild to very severe, it all depends on the individual. One symptom of OCD includes obsessions, which are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Another symptom is compulsions which are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought.

The medications used to treat OCD are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SRIs may take 8 to 12 weeks to start working, however,  some patients experience more rapid improvement. If medications don’t work or aren’t working as well another form of treatment is psychotherapy. This form of treatment can be used by children and adults. Psychotherapy is basically talking about your problems though.

Growing up I witnessed my aunt who suffers from OCD struggle to live a normal life. Growing up, my aunt was always seen as clean and very neat by others. I remember when I would go to her house she would always make us take off our shoes and jackets off and hang them and if one of us forgot she would get really mad and frustrated. It wasn’t till I got older that I started noticing that she may some sort of OCD. Also, if anyone were to move a certain thing the slightest bit, she would notice and immediately try to put it back to its original state. Overall, my aunt spent her whole life organizing and cleaning everything till it was so called perfect. OCD is not a disorder to be taken lightly because it affects one’s whole life, as well as those around them.


Conspiracy Theories

Have you ever had a contradicting thought on how an event or phenomena happened? This is referred to as a conspiracy theory. The definition of a conspiracy theory is a theory that rejects the standard explanation for an event and instead credits a covert group or organization with carrying out a secret plot. Also, it’s a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a covert group. One Of my favorite YouTubers Shane Dawson covers many different conspiracy theories and sometimes these conspiracy theories make so much sense it can be hard to believe they aren’t true and real.

A recent conspiracy theory that was covered by Shane Dawson that has raised many concerns about a place that many of us have attended is that Chuck E. Cheese’s reuses their pizzas. This conspiracy theory started when many customers at Chuck E. Cheese’s started noticing their pizzas looked bizarre. Every slice was a different shape and none of the slices lined up. Also, the shape of the pizza was not round like a normal pizza. What Shane did was we he went to Chuck E. Cheese’s and ordered a cheese pizza, a pepperoni pizza, and a half cheese and half pepperoni pizza. He secretly filmed and showed us how the pizzas looked and it was crazy, but the conspiracy theory was true. After he put out this video he got millions of views, so to test this theory many people got jobs at Chuck E. Cheese’s to show the people how they really make their pizzas. Some have said it’s true and some have said it’s false, so no one really knows if this conspiracy theory is true or false.

A conspiracy theory that I think is very interesting is about the California wildfires. One theory is the wildfires started by lasers that were used by the government for testing purposes. Some theorist are convinced of this one because if you look at the wildfires and how they spread you will notice some homes were untouched meanwhile ones beside it were destroyed. Also, some homes that were destroyed, but the trees next to them were unharmed. This theory is one of the crazy ones and the more you look into it the crazier it gets.

Are you into or have heard of conspiracy theories, if so what are the craziest ones you have heard? What are your favorite conspiracy theories?



Have you ever hallucinated? If you have, you were probably terrified and tried to do whatever to stop these hallucinations. Did you know that people who suffer from schizophrenia live with these hallucinations constantly? Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and behavior.

For males, one usually develops and is diagnosed which schizophrenia around their late teens and early 20s (16-20). In females, one usually develops and is diagnosed which schizophrenia around their mid-teens and mid-20s (15-25). Some symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions, hallucinations and illusions, lack of emotional expression, disordered thinking, and inappropriate reactions.

What really interests me is what causes schizophrenia. Did you know that doctors still haven’t found a cause for schizophrenia? However, there are many factors that contribute to the cause of schizophrenia. One being brain chemistry, abnormal functioning neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Also, another factor that leads to the cause of schizophrenia is hereditary, so it runs in the family.

As far as treating schizophrenia many people are prescribed antipsychotics, also known as neuroleptic medications. However, it can be hard to treat something when the person who is receiving the treatment isn’t taking the medication. Did you know that three-quarters of schizophrenic patients stop taking their medication? The reason the patients stop taking the medication is because it didn’t do anything to help cope with schizophrenia, or they had many negative side effects. Also, some patients don’t think there is anything wrong with them, so they may stop taking their medication.

Growing up I had a schizophrenic cousin. She was older than me, but her mental age was younger than me. I remember at every family event she would tell us she got a new job, and it would always be a different profession. The most fascinating thing is that she 100% believes that she is that profession and no one can tell her otherwise. As a young kid, I will always try to tell her no that she is not what she thinks she is and they would get very angry. I remember one time I was trying to tell her that there is nothing there and she full on tried to attack me. My dad had to pull her back and I was very scared and traumatized.  Then, my dad had a conversation with me in which he explained to me what schizophrenia is and that my cousin had it. Overall, schizophrenia is a terrible mental illness and changes everything about someone. Do you know anyone who suffers from schizophrenia?


I miss my family :(

College, a once in a lifetime experience. One is able to study whatever and wherever they’d like, as well as meet new types of people and create lifelong friendships. Also, the freedom is pretty great. One is able to do whatever they want without any parental guidance. Growing up I had very strict parents that wouldn’t let me go out that much because they didn’t want me to get caught up in trouble. Now that I’m older I understand they were only trying to protect me. Also, they aren’t from America and that’s how their parents raised them. Now that I’m in college nothing’s really holding me back and I have way more freedom. However, there’s one thing I’m missing and that my family. College is pretty great and all, but I really miss my family at times. I’m very close with my parents and siblings, so not being able to see them for long periods of time is very hard for me.

On November 1st, my birthday, I woke up feeling kind of sad. Throughout the day my friends made my birthday the best, but I was still sad. It was my first birthday without my family. Here I was sitting next to some of my closest friends, but I still wasn’t 100% happy. Then, my roommate tells me she’ll be back. Her and my family were planning to surprise me, so when she came back and I saw my whole family I was so happy that I started crying. That small gesture alone made my birthday. I didn’t know till they showed up that that’s what my birthday was missing.

In conclusion, you’re probably not the only one missing your family, they’re probably missing you too. My advice is to give them a call or even send them a text message because it could make their day. I remember one day this year I was really missing my mom, so I called her and told her how much I loved her and how I appreciate everything she does for me. She ended up crying because I made her day. Also, she wasn’t having that great of a day, so my call really turned her day around. Overall, college is pretty great, but the only part that sucks about is not being able to see my family as often as I would like. Also, after reading this please give your parents and siblings a call, you never know the call can make their day.