Are Political Parties Telling US How to Live???

What ever happened to when our representatives actually represented us? As far as I am concerned, they’ve turned politics into a personal business and instead of listening to what we would like to see happen, they do what benefits them, and then they tell us what is going on after the fact. The worst part? We listen. An example is a middle-class, normal Democrat being told to be pro-choice, even though they may not be? Why can’t a person believe in a small government and also be pro-choice? Why does the government have the ability to control what women do with their bodies, but also make profit off of it? Does that make sense? They only way it makes sense in my head is that politicians have abused their power and money. They tell US how to live, instead of the other way around.

Why Can’t I Share My Political Views?

I seem to be having the issue lately in which, every time I start talking with friends about my political views, they can’t wrap their minds around ideas that aren’t theirs. I understand I live in an area with specific political attitudes, but why all the intolerance?? I don’t understand what is creating this non-objective culture. It seems the younger the person, the more stubborn politically they are. This makes no sense. You are low- to mid-twenties. You should be learning every aspect of politics, not just what you think you should know. Listen to others, sympathize, debate, understand, comprehend, but DON’T become intolerant. That’s now way to go through life.

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Student Loans are Like a Drug Addiction

It starts slowly… The habit creeps up on you before you even know it. You don’t realize it’s a problem. It’s just a little bit here, and a little bit there. It’s so easy. But before you know it, four years have gone by and you just realize you’ve spent $30,000 or more… On student loans!

After you stop cold turkey (aka graduation), you’re in shock. It’s ruined your life. You no longer have the freedom to spend your hard-earned money on whatever you like! You’re stuck repaying for your mistakes that you probably didn’t realize you made. It wasn’t a big deal at first! All you did was sign a few papers and receive a couple emails. What was all the fuss about? But receiving that enormous bill at the end of your undergraduate college career is enough to make anybody overdose.

How do you fix this? After all, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

This is what is going through my head right now. I forgot that these loans will accumulate and present themselves to me approximately the week before I was slated to grab my degree on stage. It’s not fair! It ruined my day, my week, my summer, and possibly the next 10 years of my life.

I am sitting here right now panicking. However, my plan involves a counterattack. I will get my loans payed off in 5 years or less. One (legal and ethical) way or another, I will put enough money aside to get rid of this problem. However, if you happen to be lucky enough to read this before you sign away your life in invisible money, don’t do it! Find a way to pay for school in cash. Wait until you have a career to worry about credit, if you want credit at all.

Many students who claim they don’t do drugs, don’t realize that money can be a drug. It’s subtle, but can ultimately do a lot of damage to a person’s life. The moral of the story is to be careful, and once a problem is realized, do something about it as soon as possible! You shouldn’t have this burden over your head forever!

The Santa Barbara Shootings.. What They Mean to Me

This is a pretty crazy topic for me. For one, the apartment in which the shooter crashed and committed suicide in front of was my good friend’s apartment.. And for two, the culture shock surrounding the event has me questioning why this type of thing is happening in the first place.

I will start by saying that this is indeed a tragedy. There is no other way around that. All of the lives that were taken, were innocent. I’ve had one of my best friends die suddenly, not from violence, but it’s the shock that makes tragedy even more difficult to deal with. Instead of saying that this isn’t a big deal, because it clearly is, my thought process goes to why the shooter felt motivated to do this in the first place.

My generation was unique in that it grew up in-between technological shifts. Our parents were buying their first flip cell phones while we were in elementary school, the internet became essential to developed country lives when we were in junior high, and the iPhone became a social phenom when we were in high school. We were used to playing outside during our childhood. For the lucky few that had video games, there was rarely too much stigma involved in gaming. I have a 10 year old brother. Already, his life will be completely different than mine. When he was in third grade, he had classmates with cell phones. What?

To top all of this off, the media is dishing out crud news to everybody with half a brain who will listen! That ties this whole thing in. We get “news” on twitter, facebook, push notifications on our cell phones… we pay attention to the first sentence of an article and suddenly, we thing we know the whole story. We jump to conclusions. We hop on trends before we think about it. We vocalize our opinions without “spell checking” them. In short, we believe what we are told to believe. The news is a vast business that can turn a party into a national riot.

This isn’t always bad, however. Kidnappings may be able to be solved more quickly, communities are able to be created from people all over the world virtually, and news can be spread to the far corners of the globe. But in real life, stories tend to undergo a sort of snowball effect. The smallest things can trigger a massive response. This is good and bad. In most cases, it’s bad. I have two major pet peeves:

1. Government or company hiding behind social phenoms. An example is when congress was sequestering, they passed the gay marriage bill. Because many still don’t know what the sequester was, even though it affected the Defense Department’s 700,000 employees, says something. However, you only noticed the sequester if you are interested in politics, because everywhere else, people only noticed what was happening with gay marriage. What’s more important to living in a free world? Ability to marriage, or ability to defend our freedoms and continue to live in a safe environment? FYI, our country’s fiscal dilemmas still aren’t solved.

2. When a new headline comes out, whether is a phenom, news event, etc., we see that for days, sometimes weeks, on the front page of everything.. then it’s gone? Okay… So what happened? Is the family safe? Are they doing anything about that? What’s happening now? News is a business. As long as a headline will bring money in, they will cater to it. When they are no longer making money off of it, it’s done. In simple terms, once it disappears from the media, it disappears from people’s minds. It’s a fault both in the media and the reader, but it’s a fault nonetheless. I, for one, still care what happens and I feel as if I shouldn’t have to search deep in the depths of the internet to find sources on a current, rather important, world news topic.

I know I am sort of going off on a tangent, but hopefully you will deal with it. Back to the beginning… I think that the media has sensationalized the Santa Barbara shooter to an extend where it’s ridiculous. Yes, people do have the right to know what occurred.. Duh. But being so repetitive, jumping to conclusions, and taking advantage of grief and tragedy to bring more business in to the news companies just seems wrong to me. Stick to facts and when it’s over it’s over. If it needs continual coverage, do it objectively, consistently, and sensitively.

I blabbed on for a while. I should end this by saying that some of these thoughts are crude and I probably could have explained them better, but I am a logical and reasonable young adult who is able to look at many, if not all, situations objectively. This is what came to my mind first, and because my hands may or may not be cramping up, I’m going to have to end this soon. Hope this brings some light to any of you!

Has Traveling Alone Made Me Bossy?

I don’t know the psychology behind why people act the way they do, but over the last few months, since I came back to my “normal” life after traveling, I’ve noticed how bossy I am! When I organize activities, events, etc. with my friends, I try to go with the flow, but it’s so hard not to be bossy! I am so used to doing things my way that it’s hard for me to relinquish command and follow in another person’s footsteps. This is increasingly evident as I am traveling across England with my family.

At the beginning of our trip, I had trouble reigning my bossiness in! It’s so difficult to change every method of madness I’m used to doing on my own! My family couldn’t, still can’t, relate and it’s almost impossible for me to describe to them what I’m going through. You could call it “reentry shock” (culture shock upon coming back into your native country when you’ve been in a different country for an extended period of time), but it’s more like a personal adjustment, because it really is mental.

I’m never opposed to change, but I’m also at a pivotal point in my life: I’m a recent college graduate, relatively experienced worker and traveler, and a role model to my brother. I have to figure out what’s important to me and, right now, I think that would be independence! Yikes. So much to think about.

How to Explore a New City- Travel Hacks

I guess these “travel hacks” have been gathered from my years of venturing into strange cities almost always unprepared and hoping that some day, I will be able to have an easier trip! Here are a couple things that may help you out, too!

1. Don’t depend on GPS! Paper road maps are incredible for navigating confusing streets. The only exception is if, for all you iPhone junkies out there, you follow the little blue dot around looking for the right direction. However, if you’re like me, and much of your traveling is out of the country, then 4GS isn’t always around. Learning to read and understand a paper map is a great skill to have! And sometimes, the GPS doesn’t get it right.

travel-guides-about-australia

2. For all the lady-folks out there, carry a small purse! This may sound ridiculous, but for one, bigger bags are better targets for thieves, and two, the fewer things you carry, the less you have to worry about. The first time I went to a foreign county on my own, all I brought was my big purse. It didn’t work. It kept slipping off my shoulder, getting too heavy, I was worried about theft all the time.. It was actually horribly annoying. So I went and bought a small across body purse, and BAM!, I was instantly more street savvy.

disclaimer: this is not me, however, it is a cute purse. from asos.com

disclaimer: this is not me, however, it is a cute purse. from asos.com

3. As much as I hate buses, they are way more convenient in big cities than cars are. Burn some calories! If you’re worried about getting lost, ask for help. It may annoy people, but I know you would be able to figure it out. Many cities have guides on each stop, and some cities or companies also have apps for cell phones. Park & rides are also amazing because it’s easy to know how you get to city center and back. Look for them right before you enter a bigger city! (These are especially common in Western European countries).

ParkAndRideSignOxford20050910

4. Find the main street\ high street and branch off from there. If you’re touring a city and don’t know where to start, start there. Once you become slightly familiar with the more popular areas of the city, you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable. Discovering and remembering landmarks and street names can help you when using a paper map, or just for general touring. Don’t get too complicated in the beginning, work your way to the harder-to-find areas.

the high street in St. Andrews, Scotland

the high street in St. Andrews, Scotland

5. Don’t be afraid to go out at night, just make sure you know exactly where you are going, definite transportation there and back (and hours of operation on public transportation if necessary), have an extra $20 on you besides your wallet as emergency cash, and stick to heavily populated, well lit places\streets. Being caught belly-up in unknown places is awful, so always trust intuition and if it’s sketchy, just don’t do it. There’s a fine line between having fun and just being stupid. I have this friend who did a semester in China and she was telling me how she went out for “one or two drinks” and instead, ended up waking up by the sun next to a dumpster in an alley the next morning with no recollection of what happened! I have another friend who, during a semester abroad in France, decided to go to Italy and couch surf instead of get a hotel. She ended up being stuck with a pervy old man and had to sneak out in the middle of the night with her two friends who went with her. What terrible decisions.

No matter what, safety is key to having a good time!DSCF0559