2 UF faculty selected to attend program that teaches how to tackle tough social issue conversations

A research organization chose two UF faculty members to work through social issues that don’t have explicit solutions.

Michael Spranger and Muthusami Kumaran, both from the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, will join a program through the Kettering Foundation, which promotes conversations about issues such as poverty, obesity, public safety and environmental concerns, known as “wicked issues.”

For full article, click here.

Picture source: ics.ufl.edu

“Good writing is re-writing”

Today was the first day of my Reporting class and it was great. I am so pumped. Slightly nervous. Definitely a little bit anxious. But, for sure excited. Just in the first day of lecture, I feel like I’ve picked up so much writing advice that I am ready to try out and work with. Current attitude: bring it on. It’ll be interesting to see how that’ll change as the semester goes on — because let’s be real, it definitely will.

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That being said, I’d like to add a new goal to my already extensive list of goals for this year: stop complaining. I don’t want to be that person who’s most defining character trait is “tired,” because I feel like that’s what I hear from a lot of people when you ask them what’s up. We’re all students, we’re all busy, and we’re all tired. It’s not a point of pride to brag about how tired you are, and it’s not impressive or pleasant to spend a conversation listing off the reasons you’re so exhausted. It’s — dare I say it — tiring. So from this day onwards, I’m going to work on minimizing the word from my vocabulary. If someone catches me doing otherwise, I’m going to need them to call me out.

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Another high point of today, besides Reporting, was finishing an 8 mile run this morning. I’m still in disbelief because whenever I see the milage slowly increase one at a time on my health app each week, I keep remembering how before I started running, I would have to stop to catch my breath the moment the treadmill hit 0.6. I keep waiting for shin splits to come back and ruin my life like they used to, but *knock on wood* it hasn’t happened yet. This half-marathon may actually happen — who would’ve thought? Definitely not high school me. Maybe not even college freshman me.

Ok pEaCe oUt for now. This week is so far panning out nicely and can’t wait for the semester to start rolling.

Inspiration, a fresh slate, and general good feels

Ok, time to get back to my corner of cyberspace that I’ve been badly neglecting. Updates: winter break is over, and tomorrow begins spring semester filled with horrors such as ~*rEpOrTiNg*~ and *~oRgO cHeM~* — both notoriously difficult classes for which I already may have a tiny knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

But, it’s ok. I feel good. Even though I know it’s just the naiveté that comes with the beginning of the semester, I just have to remember what this moment of motivation and purpose feels like to pull me through the rough days. Easier said than done, I know, but all I can do is try.

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The goals: 1) Emerge from this semester fully satisfied with what I’ve accomplished and the work I’ve put in. No ra-grets. 2) Get some bomb-ass clips out there in different styles of writing that I’ve always wanted to try my hand at. Maybe even creative writing???? We’ll see. 3) Be healthy and happy with who I am. This running thing is going pretty well so far, and with the end in sight (my first half-marathon in February) it’ll be exciting to set new fitness goals. 4) Be fearless. There are so many things I am hesitant about publishing or pursuing because I’m stupidly speculating how it’ll be received and am wary of judgement. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on that pettiness anymore.

That’s the dream for 2015. I love this feeling of a fresh start, and can only try to make the best of it. Also, like most writers, having blank notebooks excites me to an almost irrational level, so that’s always a major plus of starting a new semester of school. ‘Til tomorrow!

The 8 Best Parts of Coming Home for Winter Break

Winter Break is so close, and we’re all anxious with anticipation to escape the confines of our campus. Fed up with final papers, presentations and exams, we Gators are just about ready for this semester to come to a close. Here are just a couple of things we’re most looking forward to about being home this holiday season.

1. Food that doesn’t require multi-step microwave instructions

After weeks of food that’s frozen, dehydrated, canned and every form of preserved, nothing tastes as good as a home-cooked meal. Even meals that you might’ve groaned and complained about as a kid evoke a certain nostalgia and appreciation as a college student returning home. Make sure to enjoy every meal because it’ll be back to microwavable insta-meals in what’ll feel like the blink of an eye.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: hovercraftdoggy.files.wordpress.com

This post was a top chapter article on Her Campus, on Dec. 18, 2014!

 

The 9 Most Annoying Conversation Starters You’ll Hear During Winter Break

Oh, the holidays. A time when you’re reunited with all of your beloved friends and family to catch up on college life and hear about months of missed gossip. This usually leads, however, to a very predictable and tired list of conversation starters that get old very fast. Here are some of the most annoying ones:

1. “Wow, you’ve really gained/lost weight!”

Said by: Complete random family friend at a holiday party who you are in no way comfortable holding a full conversation with and have probably been trying to avoid the entire time.
What you want to say: “Can we not comment on the physical appearance of my body, please? After the hell that is finals week that weight gain or loss wasn’t intentional nor was it pleasant, and I’m already aware of it.”
What you’ll actually say: “Yeah, that dining hall food, am I right?”

For full post, click here.

Picture source: http://www.staticweb.maine.edu

 

I suck at consistency, obviously

Here is most rant-filled, grammatically cataclysmic post thus far to make up for my three days absence. 

The past couple days have been a roller coaster — a phrase which I can now confidently say is not one word and not hyphenated in AP Style, because of a timed writing I had to do yesterday for my multimedia lab. It was used in a quote by a woman to describe a week during which her first grandson was born, and her husband shot himself with a nail gun (don’t worry, he survived). My week wasn’t quite as macabre, but for some reason, weirdly emotional and sleepless and stressful and just ugh I want to go home. In no particular order, the events of this week that have built up and torn down my faith in humanity.

The lack of indictment in the Eric Garner case. Like actually wtf. I was upset about the way the Michael Brown case turned out and could understand the frustration but could also acknowledge the ambiguity of the witness testimonies. With Eric Garner, I watched the horrendous video (that for some reason news channels have taken the ridiculous liberty of playing non-stop without giving thought to the fact that we are literally seeing a man die over and over again  on television) and broke down crying at work because it was such a moment of helplessness and frustration. I couldn’t deal. I still can’t deal. I’ve never felt so helpless in something I care so much about and that’s such a scary feeling.

Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns. I read this book despite the fact that a) I promised myself that I wouldn’t pick up another book until I finished Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone which I have been trying to get through since summer and b) it’s currently finals week so I really shouldn’t be reading for pleasure anyways. That being said, it was great. It reminded me how much work and failure and rejection it takes to get anywhere in life. It made me laugh when I was pissed off at everything. Which, in turn, reminded me how essential entertainers and commentators and comedy are to society. When I was younger, I don’t think I had every very many opportunities to read/experience any form of entertainment media in the U.S. by South Asian Americans. But recently, I don’t know if I’ve become more aware, or if there are actually more by number, I’ve found so many great writers. Atul Gawande, Mindy Kaling, Aasif Mandvi, Abraham Verghese — even seeing that new kid Hassan Minhaj on the Daily Show makes me so happy. It’s so validating to see snippets of your own experience, and acknowledgement of your frustrations, told in the stories of others.

The stupid shooting threat at my school. I can’t stand people who go out of their way to make people feel unsafe. I don’t understand what is accomplished by that and it just makes me mad. So when I got an alert by my school about a Twitter shooting threat, my internal monologue was 1.) “aw hell no” followed by 2.) little bit of fear followed by 3.) John Oliver saying “There have always been motherf***ers, there will always be motherf***ers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf***ing lives.” And then I wrote up a story about the threat for USA Today College that got edited and published with a bunch of grammatical errors and typos but got 1.2k shares so I guess it’s ok in the end.

The ridiculous Rolling Stone / UVA rape case drama that’s going down. It’s so frustrating that such basic journalistic standards of ethics were completely ignored, which will, in the long run, harm the already marginalized and stigmatized voices of rape victims. While Rolling Stone may be able to save face with great PR (and they’ve already released statements covering their backs) this endangers so many victims and their willingness to come forward with their stories. Beyond annoyed, beyond frustrated.

My last day of lecture and lab in my favorite class of the semester: Multimedia Writing. I loved this class so much. I could go on for a while about all of the things that were amazing about it. And it’s my blog, so I’ll go ahead and do that. I learned a lot. The construction of the class was ingenious in the way that at the beginning of the semester, we were given a fact sheet and pretty much told how to construct ledes, nut grafs, and all of the the components of a news story — something that most of us were completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. But, each week, they would slowly take away some of the help, to the point that now, at the end of the semester, we can confidently interview, write, and get published a story without a rubric, in a style of writing that we literally had no idea how to work with just 14 weeks prior. It makes me love writing so much more, I feel so much more confident, and I’m so much more excited about my future journalism classes. The same cannot be said about orgo chem because jeez that class has just been one massive train wreck from start to end.

The last day of lecture in multimedia, our amazing professor read us a speech someone gave at a 50-year college reunion or something that pretty much listed all of the technological innovations and advancements and events and changes that had happened between college graduation and where they were now. And at first, it was inspiring because you realize how far we have come — in terms of media, communications and technology — in such a short amount of time. But, the more I think about it, the scarier it is. Everything I’m learning about now, everything I care about now, has the potential to become completely and utterly obsolete in just my lifetime. And as inevitable and obvious as that statement is, it’s really disheartening and makes me have all kinds of existential feels that I don’t know how to cope with because I am young and inexperienced and jacked up on caffeine and frightened by the concept of finiteness. Peace out.

Thanksgiving break is literally the worst thing ever

Thanksgiving break is horrible. It’s as if someone made the conscious decision to mercilessly taunt us poor college kids with a few days of the warmth and comfort of family, food, and friends – only to toss us back, headfirst and still recovering from food comas, into the depths of hell that is finals week.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: www.gowaynecounty.com