It seems that students at many universities tell themselves they don't matter. At the bottom of this post is a study I found that gives qualitative evidence of this trend. This only becomes true if they believe that their mind tells them the truth.
I think Paul Loeb gives a starting mantra. In Soul of a Citizen, Loeb picks apart self-resignation and the harm it causes:
"Once we accept that we're powerless, our passivity turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy, a habit of mind the becomes harder and harder to shake. We decide that there's nothing we can do about key common issues, large or small, so we withdraw from public life before we give it a serious shot. We stop paying attention. After a while, we stop caring. Why break our hearts over things that are beyond our control?"
Loeb and I agree that this is a pervasive cultural trend in America. Personally, I've been like many John Carroll students until recently. Reading Loeb's book has given me a clearer idea about what exactly are my self-serving intentions, and what can be done to convert such intentions. Instead of focusing on guitar practice and school for the sake of serving private life, I want to find ways to create social change with as many ways as possible.
I wrote a poem today. I sent it to some JCU clubs for feedback, but I'd also like feedback from here. I have scanned the composition notebook that I wrote the poem in. This lets you understand my creative process better. I hope you enjoy!
I had an assignment for my American Electronic Media class that I'm proud to share with you. Written below is an essay about how college students consumed mass media in the 1960s compared to today. I also conducted an interview for research on the topic. Again, any commentary is greatly appreciated!
Our Changing Relationship with Media: LaGuardia’s World vs. Our World
“Speed of comprehension, or depth of comprehension?” This is a question I ask myself about reading comprehension. Today, it seems that many college students “skim,” “sample,” or “check out” forms of literature, as well as other mass mediums. The most important mediums today are film, TV, radio, recorded music, books, and periodicals. These mediums were important back in the mid 1960s, but college students consumed them differently back then. I interviewed Dr. David LaGuardia to investigate how college students consumed mass media in that period. My findings suggest that media consumption was a much slower process.
In the mid ‘60s, LaGuardia’s literature major required reading periodicals more often than watching TV, as he had many scholarly papers to write. Citing sources demanded an elaborate process. LaGuardia went to his university’s library to find sources. At that time, the Dewey Decimal System and alphabetization were standard methods to find specific scholarly journals. When the library did not have a source he wanted, he would have to take a bus to Case Western Reserve, which he could never do. The fact that some citations required any travel outside of a university’s campus is shocking enough.
With President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, college students throughout America were glued to radio and TV sets. The event was catastrophic enough for LaGuardia to be engulfed in mass hysteria.
Now, Internet databases make citing sources simple and quick. We do not have to travel beyond John Carroll’s campus to find a relevant source; Google eliminates vehicular transportation entirely. We now can amass relevant sources within a maximum of a few days.
With the recent Pulse nightclub shooting, millennials received coverage through Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as through “reblogging” on Tumblr. Reblogging means to repost other blogs’ content, and it spreads Internet memes on the site almost instantaneously. With Facebook and Twitter, many college students simply follow or like an outlet’s page, and they will be bombarded with links to articles from newer news outlets such as Mic.com, Vox Media, theSkimm (an email-based outlet), and Wired. These outlets mark a growing trend of college students distrusting older media companies, such as the TV news giants. Internet memes seem to be consumed as credible information as well.
Yet, my initial question still persists: How do college students consume news, particularly the newer outlets? My stepdad once told me that web surfing shortens attention spans and diminish comprehension. According to Colin Harrison, “College students who are poor readers have told me that although it is true that in principle online learners can work at their own pace, in reality there is so much reading that “the pace is always too fast.’” This suggests that one large problem is not whether Internet reading degrades reading comprehension, but those who already read poorly cannot keep up with the speed of college classes. Elsewhere, Harrison suggests three methods for supporting struggling readers:
1. Be aware of the problem and gain as much knowledge as possible of the tools available to support the needs of students reading on their own.
2. Be ready to offer additional support through extra tutorial assistance and, where possible, with such re- sources as targeted videos and podcasts.
3. Be creative in seeking to offer learning opportunities that replicate some of the experiences of face-to-face teaching, such as group projects or forums, video or audio conferencing tools, and peer-to-peer conversations in a variety of formats (Harrison and Alvermann).
There is hope for college students, but that hope must be assured quickly, given the pace of change in university pedagogy. Systemic changes could take years, or even decades. Many students will fall behind in classes with demanding paces.
To conclude, my reaction informs me that many millennials are meshed within an awkward transition period of how mass media is consumed. In the ‘60s, the process for academic work was slow, but it was well established in collegiate pedagogy. LaGuardia earned his literature major via a clear research process, which was likely augmented by his advanced reading abilities. To a millennial college student with reading disabilities, improving comprehension and research efficiency is far more daunting and time-consuming. In terms of news consumption, Big Media seems increasingly irrelevant to college students throughout America. Now, web media outlets point towards a “new journalism,” which is a term that I have come across in journalism periodicals. My initial question has now been modified: How can college students today become master students? I do not have a clear answer; I am only a college student, after all. Yet, in ten years I will have a developed sense of where mass media consumption is going. I can only hope that its direction benefits American culture as a whole.
Harrison, Colin and Donna Alvermann. "Are Computers, Smartphones, and the Internet a Boon or Barrier for the Weaker Reader?" Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 60.2 (2016): 221-225.
Outtakes from Episode 1 are on YouTube now! Check it out here. Constructive feedback is greatly appreciated!
All the best,
After what felt like too long, I have finished a draft for a review of Boris' concert. Thanks for reading!
Good morning everyone.
If you haven't seen my vlog's debut, it is here. Commentary is forever appreciated.
Also, check out this emotionally chilling version of Jeff Buckley's Grace. This recording alone makes me want to buy Per Bristow's Singing Zone program. Check that out if you're curious about an unorthodox approach to voice instruction.
P.S. I may be unable to make another video until Friday. Apologies for the delay. Be on the lookout for a new video Friday afternoon!
The video will be uploaded tonight. Unfortunately, I forgot that uploading video files to Google Drive get compressed significantly. I may upload the video a second time next week from the JCU CDM Mac that it was rendered on. I'll see if I can get to JCU early next week. For now, enjoy the first video. I spent nearly five hours total today editing, so I am electronically exhausted. To find the video, simply click on the "YouTube" text in the site menu. For the moment, have a free clue on what to expect from the video:
The vlog footage will be edited on Friday afternoon, so it will be uploaded later that day. Expect silliness and music!
All the best,
I have started filming for a vlog debut. The footage I have taken spans two weeks, as I have to wait until I can reach JCU on Friday to edit the footage and render the video. Stay tuned!
Yesterday I composed the poem below. I wrote this in light of Louise DeSalvo's book Writing as a Way of Healing; with DeSalvo's knowledge on Sylvia Plath's destructive creative process in mind. Somewhere in Chapter 9 of DeSalvo's book, DeSalvo uses Plath's self-torturing habits and her unhealthy mindset as a springboard; a springboard for how NOT to approach the creative process, be it with poetry, novels, song lyrics, and all artistic mediums. I will add annotations and citations that point to my inspirations.
"The Trap of Plath (That Kills Healing)"
Don't trip in that trap for long;
You won't love it all along.
Weakness woes will create a stone purse; (1)
Both develop pools of wasteful, (2)
Emotional envelopes. Don't
Tell me your troubles;
We don't have the time to spare, (3)
as well as means to care.
We're standing on our side;
Bide our time, and don't
believe that thought-on-that-line. (4)
Down to cold, bold depths of blind, yet
Conspicuous bickering, primarily on
We are the president because (5)
Change only fills our cup (6)
From our life force within;
Don't let sins of self-pity
Break our young spirit. (7)
Only fusions of we, the human race,
Can overcome the face of our Ego's Mace. (8)
(1) I think this is taken from one verse in a Phil Ochs song. I will update later.
(2) "Pools" and "envelopes" illustrate an image of yellow, sealed office envelopes piling up in a filled swimming pool.
(3) Most certainly taken from the Phil Ochs song "That's What I Want to Hear."
(4) "Thought-on-that-line" means that quiet self-resignation that Americans are conditioned to within American culture. Henry David Thoreau rose awareness to this phenomenon in his challenging, yet vital treatise titled Walden. This site dedicated to Thoreau should help introduce you to him.
(5) Another Phil Ochs verse. This verse is taken from "That Was the President." Ochs' song lyrics from I Ain't Marching Anymore are predominantly topical; particularly on the political turmoil in the mid-1960s. Greenwich Village was indeed a hotbed of creativity shrouded within America's collective psyche at that time.
(6) "Fills our cup" references the Biblical passage Psalm 23:5 which asserts that " Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows." Taken into the context of SLAA, I adopt the practice of relinquishing ego-infused desires to control every surprise that appears in my life.
(7) "Young spirit" implies the hope that remains for youth across the planet. Yet special attention needs to be made towards American youth. Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte illustrates potential hope fused with the spiritually and mentally crippling realities that American youths face.
(8) "Ego's Mace" is inspired by Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. The mace refers to the currently bludgeoned state that I believe humanity is emerging from. I can only hope to help others to check their ego more often. That is the best I can do right now.
I hope these annotations help. If you have any constructive critique on this post, please send it to me. Go to the contact page to send the critique to my email. Thank you.