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Lost Generation September 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ncardinale @ 9:26 pm

Two statements from Jonathan Reed’s poem “Lost Generation” (when read forwards, not backwards) really struck a chord with me:

“Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era”

 and

“In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth”

I couldn’t agree more with the former stanza if I tried.

It’s always pleasant- and shocking, when I meet someone whose biological parents are still happily married. But more often than not, I come across people from broken homes (i.e. parents who never married [70% of African American babies, and about 40% of Caucasian babies are born out-of-wedlock], divorced parents, foster parents, live-in boyfriends/girlfriends, stepparents, single parents, no parents/guardians [they’re physically and/or emotionally removed], adoptive parents, etc).

Admittedly, “broken homes” is a very subjective term, and plenty of children are content living in any of the aforementioned lifestyles. The reason why I am choosing to use such a banal saying, is that most of the people I know who live in an untraditional family, per say (or have no family), are unhappy. They don’t always make their melancholy blatantly known, but it ends up showing through in other ways (such as making poor decisions [regarding drugs, alcohol,… you name it], and/or they develop a misanthropic outlook on people and a cynical one on life in general).

The latter excerpt, in reference to the environment, is baffling, for I’ve never seen, heard, or read about a generation more concerned about the environment than us.

“Environmental destruction will be the norm?” What? If my peers and I didn’t care about the earth, Shen High School wouldn’t have the Environment Club, offer an Environmental Science course, or recycle for that matter!

From a broader perspective, one of the major issues in our government and politics is what to do about the environment (such as sources of alternative energy [like solar panels and windmills], off-shore drilling, natural gas, and battery, water, and oil operated automobiles).

How about when one walks into a grocery or convenience store? There is no escaping all of the “Go Green” and “Environmentally Safe” products that line the shelves.

Television is another means by which being “Environmentally Friendly” is promoted. I can think of a few channels specifically: HGTV and DIY suggest tips on how to make one’s home “Green,” Disney Channel and Nickelodeon encourage kids to take part in preserving nature and helping out around their community, and MSNBC and CNBC support the Obama Administration’s environmental mandates.

Moreover, to say that people my age (and the rest of the population) lack the desire to respect the earth, seems inconsiderate to me.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, today’s “Lost Generation” cares more about saving the environment than they do about preserving family values.

 

Spirit Week September 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ncardinale @ 4:39 am

I think I speak for most of my classmates when I say that Hat Day is… embarrassing.

Let me back up first: every year Shen High School puts on “Spirit Week,” during which every day of the week is devoted to a particular theme. (For example, Monday is Tie-Dye Day, Tuesday is Hat Day, Wednesday is Support a Sports Team Day, Thursday is Support a Cause Day, and Friday is Support Shen Day, in which the school colors are to be worn).

Notice a commonality between the themes? All of them involve the wearing of t-shirts and/or sweatshirts, except for Hat Day. To me, the latter is merely a tempered version of the day before Halloween, when kids are allowed to come to school wearing ridiculous and over-the-top costumes. The difference between the two, is that many people participate in the celebration of Halloween, while few wear an unusual or unconventional hat. Therefore, if anyone were to do the latter, they’d stick out like a sore thumb. And who wants to be the only one sporting a silly hat? I’m sure there are people out there who wouldn’t mind, but I am not one of them. That’s why I’ve come up with…

…Support Your Favorite Band/Music Group Day! It is a perfect replacement of Hat Day for two reasons: 1) It has broad appeal. Similar to Support a Sports Team Day and Support a Cause Day, just about everyone likes music and can think of a band/music group that they enjoy. 2) The availability of obtaining a t-shirt is simple. You might have one hanging up in your closet from the last concert you went to, or you could purchase one from eBay or Amazon. On the other hand, if you’re a crafty person, you could make your own. Whereas the availability of finding/creating a crazy hat may prove to be more difficult, as I’m guessing they’re not easy to put together, and they are not the kind of item that is carried in stores on a regular basis.

In summary, bands and music groups speak to a wide range of people, and t-shirts are nowhere near the eccentricity of a costume or outlandish hat. This way, you can be unique while taking part in Support Your Favorite Band/Music Group Day without feeling moronic.

 

Don’t always believe what you read September 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ncardinale @ 10:41 pm

Stereotypes. At some point in our lives, we all see, experience, and even think them. It is a fact of life we just can’t get around.

For example, you’re probably familiar with the platitudes that Asian students are anomalous geniuses and Indian students are exceptionally bright. In fact, according to a 2008 statistic by “Did You Know? 3.0,” India has more Honor students than the United States has students in total. This sounds fairly impressive! …Only it isn’t accurate.

My parents take The Wall Street Journal every morning, and I recall that a couple of months ago my mom showed me an interesting article, entitled “India Graduates Millions, but Too Few Are Fit to Hire.” Aside from the fact that India’s student body is triple ours (contributing to the “enormous” amount of Honor students), the article discusses the sub-par standards of India’s high schools and colleges. In short, their schools are underfunded and teach outdated material. Thus, most people under the age of 25 (who make up more than half of India’s population), are not qualified nor skilled enough to graduate from ambitious colleges and enter the demanding workforce. In turn, India’s burgeoning economy is being threatened by its lack of adroit workers when they have endless new job positions to fill.

But don’t take my word for it- the following is an excerpt that validates my points: “So few of the high school and college graduates who come through the door can communicate effectively in English, and so many lack a grasp of educational basics such as reading comprehension, that the company can hire just three out of every 100 applicants. …Business executives say schools are hampered by overbearing bureaucracy and a focus on rote learning rather than critical thinking and comprehension. Government keeps tuition low, which makes schools accessible to more students, but also keeps teacher salaries and budgets low. What’s more, say educators and business leaders, the curriculum in most places is outdated and disconnected from the real world.” (See full article at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703515504576142092863219826.html)

I should clarify that I am in no way calling India’s students ‘dumb.’ It is merely a lack of funds and teaching abilities that have resulted in this quandary. So then what is my point to all of this? Going back to the very beginning, I must state again, that we are all guilty of stereotyping and some of us have even been labeled ourselves. It is not to say that these trite thoughts don’t have any truth in jest. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But they can all be shattered. My way of doing so wasn’t exactly in a positive light, yet it goes to show how easy it is to disprove a convention if you don’t take it at face value. Even if it’s in the form of a statistic.