Progress

I feel like this semester has been a really good experience for me. First, it made me far more confident in my writing and gave me the freedom to enjoy writing more. Before I was unsure about my writing which made me hesitant to experiment at all. Now, I am far more confident and enjoy the process because I’m not stressed about how I will perform. The open format of the blog allowed me to just write without too much consideration of the formality which I liked a lot.

Also, my writing has gotten smoother and more concise. I think my transitions and phrasing improved, resulting in a more finished and flowing paper. I focused on removing unnecessary words. This helped my papers tremendously and motivated me to keep doing it.

However, there is always room for improvement. Most of the time, the more concise and direct you are with making a point, the more powerful and easily understood. I feel there is space for me to be more clear and direct with my points. Sometimes I say more than I need to. Also, I tend to use the same sentence structures and some of the same words or transitions. My writing would be improved if I could vary these more.

The hardest paper for me was the research paper. I am someone who likes to know all the facts and truly understand the topic before presenting any material on it. With this research paper, I spent too much time researching and then felt overwhelmed and struggled a bit to get it done. I also had a hard time organizing my thoughts. All the topics I had ran into each other in a way making it hard to decipher when to start new paragraphs and break up the piece.

My favorite paper was actually the first one we did, the autobiographical narrative. I enjoyed this one because I haven’t spent much time writing about my own life in such a dramatic way. Normally writing assignments are more contained and precise. I enjoyed the nature of the piece and was pleasantly surprised by what I was able to come up with.

Future

At this particular moment I am undeclared so I am not sure where I will end up in the future. However, I am almost positive I will end up in a math or science major. That being said, writing won’t be primary in my career.

If I end up in the science field and want to be a teacher at a University I will have to do research and report it. My reports will have to be thought out and well written. It should sound scholarly and authoritative. If I end up in a lab, my writing will consist more of short statements and conclusions. However, it will still need to be clear and concise.

If I end up as a math major, I can’t really see writing becoming a part of my career unless I decide to write a textbook or something of that sort. Part of this is due to the fact that I don’t enjoy writing. I am semi purposefully choosing career paths that don’t require large amounts of writing.

Outside of my actual career, there are several places I will use writing. First, I think it’s important to be able to write well in case you ever need to address someone either through a letter, email, or resume. Also, I have a food blog that I started last year (thedancingwhisk.com). While I am not super active on it right now, I could see myself getting really into it in the future. I didn’t realize when I started it that all blogs require a lot of writing. It has, and will continue, to push my writing to be more clear and engaging.

Faith

Dear Dave Deckard,
I want to start by saying that I was fascinated by your article. As an athlete myself, I was interested to hear what you had to say on the topic.
First, I thought your introduction was far to long. While I understand you wanted to settle the ground before expressing your opinions, it was long and defensive. I started to get bored as I was more interested in your thoughts on religious proclamations in sports than your ideas on the two sides of the spectrum of responses. To me, it came off a bit arrogant and angry. I totally understand where you were coming from, but it made me less interested in what you had to say because I started to lose interest and respect for you.
I feel like you continued a negative tone throughout the whole article. I understand you don’t like these particular actions, but the way you presented it was of complete annoyance. It made me doubt your understanding and view of the topic.
Personally, I believe these proclamations of faith do more good than they do bad. But, that isn’t entirely the point. I think your argument would have been better if you had connected to your audience and more gently talked them through your views.
You made some statements that were far to generalized. Such as your thought that people in tragedy link there thoughts of God not being with them to his being with these athletes instead. While I believe that could be a thought, I don’t think it’s typical at all. Statements such as these made you lose credibility.
You repeatedly say you don’t mind if faith comes out in an interview, during a convention and so on, but that its more harmful than helpful during a game. I would argue that God is supposed to be a part of everything we do. For that reason, playing sports should be a way of honoring God. For a lot of athletes, its hard to not get caught up in all the hype and it’s easy to start believing you, as a person, deserve the praise. For people, including me, doing some sign would keep reminding me that my playing is for God. Also, I would hope people would know me enough to know the meaning of my sign. If they don’t, they probably don’t care about my doing it.
As a huge sports fan, I like to see people acknowledging God when they are playing. It makes me more interested in the player and their faith. Despite what you said, faith does come up more in discussion due to players being forward about their faith on the court or field. If the player is well liked, their proclamation of faith can spark an interest in someone else. People get really into their sports players. Most of the time, people chose their favorite players on their talent or what kind of athlete they are. If they really respect an athlete and that athlete always gives a sign or gesture, someone is bound to find out more about it and could even find themselves looking into their faith.
For these reasons and others, I think such proclamations in sports are actually a good thing. I would challenge you to think more into the positive side of this topic and see what you find.
Thanks,
Mary

Evolution

In Gary Tandy’s “The Problem with Certitude” he brings up the idea that Christians are not open to letting their beliefs evolve, but they should be. I totally agree with this point.

For the most part, Christians believe something and continue to defend it without being open to other people altering what they think. Some people believe something for so long they don’t even know where it came from and don’t have scripture to back it up. Regardless, they can’t imagine their thoughts being wrong. No one really knows what is “right” or “wrong.” It is something we try to understand and figure out with the bible as our source of information. The problem is that the bible often contradicts itself or says one thing for a time period and then changes later on. It’s hard to really understand the meaning of the bible. Context is key. However, even with a solid contextual understanding, the bible is difficult to interpret. We are called to serve God. We aren’t called to completely understand the bible. However, to understand God better we are to look at the scriptures and pray. All anyone can to is their best. We have to live believing what we think to be truth. So in that way, we should be confident in our beliefs.

On the other hand, we should be open to others changing what we think because we might not have all the details. The problem here is that changing what you believe can make it seems as though you were wrong before. But we need to be open to letting new knowledge evolve our beliefs. We can only act and live under what we know. It isn’t “wrong” to do your best with the knowledge you have. But when someone enlightens you to a new idea that can change what you think, you should be open.

One problem is that often people use the bible out of context to prove a point they already believe rather than letting the bible evolve their beliefs.

Something to consider is if someone brings up an opinion or idea from the bible you don’t agree with, it can make your faith stronger as well. Sometimes someone addressing the opposing view makes you defend your faith and really consider what you believe. It might even encourage you to dive into your bible and learn more. It makes you take your faith into your own hands and develop it for yourself.

Also, it is possible to believe some of what is said and not all of it. The most important thing is to listen to what others have to say and be open to letting it affect you. We should feel free to use the insight of others to shape what we believe.

Seeds

The famous author, Jane Goodall, found herself, just this last year, in a plagiarism scandal. Goodall was planing on releasing a book called “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants” but before it was published, people found plagiarized passages in her book. Of course, this is a huge deal in the world of print, so she was informed and immediately planned to correct the issue. While she said it was a mistake, there are multiple places of question in the book.

Although her book will eventually be published, the release date was pushed back. Goodall thought she would be able to correct the issues in the future copies and still release the book when planned, but with everything that happened, she had to wait. The book will still be published, but it will always have this negative association with it. People will see the title and remember the talk of her plagiarism, creating a negative connotation of the book.

Not only that, but people will forever see Goodall differently. She is a well known author who has written some incredible and informative books. However, people will not see the same woman anymore. Sadly, because she is so well known, the whole scandal found its way into the news and now thousands of people know about it. That is one negative aspect of fame. Regardless of the significance of the material plagiarized, people know about it. In the future, people will be more skeptical of her writing and her information.

While this could be, and is, a bash on Goodall as a writer, it also points to the editors. Editors should be more attentive to plagiarism and help avoid such scandals. Hopefully the scandal will motivate both authors and editors in the future to be careful about the information they share.

Information for this post came from:
Bailey, Jonathan. “Jane Goodall Embroiled in Plagiarism and Misconduct Allegations.” IThenticate. N.p., 2 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

Questionable

http://www.livestrong.com/article/347234-fast-food-and-childhood-obesity-in-america/

This is an article regarding the increase of obesity in America. While I do believe it true that Americans, as a whole, are gradually carrying more weight, this article is lying to us in several ways. The biggest of these is their use of facts.

The author starts by addressing the percentage of obese kids between the age of 6 and 19. They give no reasoning for why those ages where chosen. And, they don’t give comparative statistics to show that number has any significance. For all we know, that percentage could have been exactly the same 40 years ago.

Consider the date of the facts used as well. Although this article was written in 2013 their facts came from 2010 and even 2003. If there is such a startling change occurring right now, why are they talking about the past? What has happened in the last 10 years? It seems to me there should be more recent facts to support their claim.

The author also uses vague statistics. Most percentages are accompanied by the word “about” making the information less sure. Words like “school age” or “adolescent” also accompany the facts. Most people don’t know exactly what those words encompass and, therefore, don’t know what the facts mean.

The sad thing is that everyone seems to believe statistics, no matter where they come from. No matter the source, we assume they have truth in them. Most people see numbers and think someone else already did the search and figured out the results for them. However, we can’t assume that. Results can be interpreted differently depending on who looks and them and what they want to get out of them. Also, there are many ways statistics can be tweaked or reworded to dramatize or emphasize aspects to fit the thesis. When read out of context or without background knowledge, the facts can seem significantly more noteworthy than they are. Sometimes, by the time the facts hit the page, they have been reworked so much they aren’t even truth anymore.

While there might be some truth to this article, there are many ways the author is tweaking information to fit the mold. Obesity might be on the rise, but this is not the way to prove it.

Oh Marsters…

There is this lady whom I absolutely adore, Wendy Marsters. She taught at my high school and I was fortunate enough to have her for biology my freshman year. She is a phenomenal teacher and an incredible person. She is uniquely kind and accepting of everyone she meets. She loves meeting people and learning their stories. I always loved her class because she was animated and enthusiastic about the material. She knows how to teach high school students and loves what she does. However, she has this bizarre obsession with Dave Mathews.

Now I understand liking an artist a lot, buying their albums, and seeing them in concert maybe once or twice. I appreciate music and can get what it is like to see your favorite artists live. But Marsters really is obsessed with Dave Mathews. Like over the top into him. She literally sees every concert in a reasonable and unreasonable distance from our town. I’m sure she has been to over a hundred shows and will continue to go until he dies. She is what you call a dedicated fan. There are posters of him in her classroom, she talks about him during class, and occasionally missed class to attend one of his concerts.

Why she has such an intense interest in Dave Mathews, I may never know. However, I feel I might be able to better understand her reasoning if I spent some time talking to her and really understood how much he means to her. Also, talking to her daughters and getting their perspective of the whole ordeal might help me see where she is coming from. Looking into Dave Mathew’s characteristics and lyrics to see if they apply to Marsters or her life might be of benefit. Maybe there is some odd connection between the two of them…