Monday, August 24, 2015

Writing Prompt

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Body Shaming

Body shaming is a topic that people are very sensitive about. Body shaming is basically when someone says negative things about some one's body weight. There are two types of body shaming, one is about your height and the other is about your weight. We live in a society where the way we look is so important. So many people are trying to loose or gain weight because of the negative comments they have received. It's natural for people to notice how a person looks  but there is no reason to point it out. People are being judged by the way they look everyday. There are people who are naturally skinny or naturally thick. They can't change that about themselves. Nobody likes to be called fat or even chubby. Even if people say "oh you're so lucky you're so skinny" as a complement the person might be offended. Body shaming is wrong. Just because someone has the image of a perfect body does not make them any more of a women. What is the perfect body? As long as the person is happy with the way they look, that's what truly matters.

Pratichhya G.
English 112

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cruel Nature

Cruel Nature

On April 25, 2015, Saturday, a devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude strike my county, Nepal. Thousands of people were killed, many were buried under ground, and thousand more were left homeless. Nepal is a developing country, a very small country in between two huge nations. Although, the nation is poor but it was historically and culturally rich. Yes, it WAS because this cruel nature left nothing behind but only the remains of our culture. The aftershocks even today which is after thirteen days is experienced. But I can boldly say, that my country is strong. We will bounce back, for now we need to stay strong. Citizens of my country are brave enough to hold back their tears and help to rescue the one's who are struggling. I, personally appreciate all the help that we have experienced from all around the world in this tragic situation. 

S upreti
ENG 112

Africa is a continent

Enough! We as Africans have had enough. Some would argue that there are no stupid questions- or are there? How about questions such as "do you live in huts?" Or "do you speak African?"
Yes, these are quite ridiculous questions and Africans are tired of having to answer them over and over again.  Africa is not a country. It's a continent that consists of 54 countries all with different cultures, customs, religions, and languages. When you ask us questions like "do you speak African" we are genuinely shocked by the level of your ignorance. It's like asking Italians if they speak  European. So for those who have asked this question before I suggest that you think before you speak. When I told people that I had recently moved here from Ethiopia I was asked if I had come here with a "boat." This person assumed that I couldn't have had the wealth or reason to travel around the world with the use of an airplane- which is crazy to be honest. It's sad how Africa is portrayed  as this poor and unproductive continent where everybody speaks the same language and live in huts.  It's time for people to acknowledge our achievements and accept our differences. We suggest that you take a few minutes to research the different countries and cultures. Make sure to never address Africa as a country and when you refer to a place in Africa be specific. Don't ask if we speak African and most importantly don't assume that we are poor.

- Naomi Simatos

Hard work always pays off!

You can do anything you set your mind to. An example of this for me was when I took PE III during my junior year. During the course we were required to go to the weight room, and this helped shape me to grow both mentally and physically. I was a really skinny guy, and that made me uncomfortable when I entered the weight room. I was unfamiliar with the weights and could not compete with my stronger classmates. In addition, at the beginning, I did not like how we had to go to the weight room because I did not feel physically capable to lift weights. It was uncomfortable for me, because I felt weaker than others in the class who would lift heavier weights than me. The first week I was there, I pretended to do something else. For instance, when I bench pressed for the first time, I could not even balance or lift the bar. But my friends were always there supporting and helping out. Then, later in the year, I saw improvement in my body. I slowly gained weight and muscle. Friends in my class helped me out by giving me tips and pointers for when I would work out. This helped me grow more comfortable in that environment. I started to go to the weight room outside of school. And the results of my hard work made me feel very pleasant, and I wanted to continue this success.

-David Workneh
Eng 112

Police Brutality

The incident with Eric Garner is one of the many examples of police brutality. However, it also shows the racial in deference that is now the biggest issue in the nation. Many people thought racism ended after the civil rights movement, but I believe it is now that people are expressing their true opinions towards the issue. I believe what happened to Eric garner as well as to Mike Brown and many young African American males are tragic and they deserve justice. That being said, the citizens of America especially the African American community lives day by day with the fear of police officers. I would like to ask all the youth citizens how to address this issue effectively by protesting. Also Eric Garner left behind a wife and six children. His family still needs support with financial after the tragic loss. You should go to this link, then click on donate. If you donate $50, you will receive the "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt to join in solidarity with those protesting the death of #EricGarner. Afterword, you can share it on facebook, twitter or leave a comment below.

-Daniel Debesay
Eng 112 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Labels Are For Products NOT People

I seem to be going through an identity crisis. I know for a fact that I am an African-American male, but for some odd reason every time I do something I gain a new ethnicity. When I talk properly, which is just how I was raised, and strive to succeed in my music aspirations, since it isn't rap I'm white. When I play soccer, my favorite sport, and throw a little Spanish in my sentences I instantly become Hispanic (or also known as a less flattering term for that). Does this mean I could be Chinese since I love the food so much, even though I don't speak a lick of Mandarin or Cantonese? But the reason why I am reassured I'm at least PART black, is due to the fact that last week when I was in a 7-11 I had my first unpleasant profiling experience. Even though I try my hardest not to fulfill any stereotypes and present myself as a nice young man, he saw me as no different than shady person roaming the streets. Not sure how many "potential shoplifters" say "please", "thank you", and "have a nice day" but that is besides the point. I don't share this to complain but to ask that you think about what you say to people. I know I'm not the first or last to be treated this way, still one never knows how another person will react. I've learned to not pay it any mind because I'm proud to live in a very multicultural area, and have become a very multicultural person thanks to that. I hope this helps anyone who may have experienced the same thing and that it helps you to be true to yourself. Take it from an African-American, Latino, Caucasian, and Asian kid. Whose experienced a lot of different cultures in only 19 years of life.

-Izaak G
 Eng 112

Why body cameras don't solve everything

Recently there has been an increase of civilian videos capturing police using controversial, even deadly, force against minorities. Since the questioning of police brutality has become increasingly viral, there have been many attempts to secure and protect the rights of the people as well as the police. This article explains why people are still skeptical about the implement of body cameras.

While the use of the camera is recommended to be on during all interactions, police are given the option to turn off the cameras in terms of sensitive cases such as minors or domestic abuse. The fact that cameras only show a percentage of the scene, accountability can be lost in the translation of the footage. There is also a concern of how police will act in instances brought up by the possible addition of facial recognition.

Privacy and civil rights advocates worry that the cameras will highly impact communities of color and those living in poor communities. Money being spent on this type of surveillance has been for the use of trial and testing rather then a permanent policy that will be difficult to change.


Modern day Poetry

When hearing the word "poetry" the first thing that usually pops into someone's mind is some type of written writing that expresses something without saying it directly. Nouns that might first come into a person's mind might be: Shakespeare, rhymes, haiku, stanzas. The first thing that usually comes into a person's mind about poetry is usually something written, if thinking about it some more people will come up with answers such as music, riddles, and anything spoken expressing some type of feeling without saying it directly. Altogether people tend to think of poetry as something that makes them feel a certain way, think deeper into a subject, or open their eyes to a new perspective that they had not thought of before before.

Comparing now to other time periods, people don't tend to see written poetry as much as they use to. They do not broadcast written poetry on the media, nor do many people look into modern poets. If you were to ask a random person to name a current known poet writer, the chances are they would not know. However, people do tend to hear about musicians in the media and most if not all know a musician. Musicians are regarded as celebrities and they are poets. Matter of fact their is a chance that the first poetry ever created was in the form of music, and many historians believe this to be true. The way these musicians today are treated as celebrities is not unlike the times of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was also known as a celebrity and rumors of his life were spread around as town gossip (Same as musicians today). 

So why is it that we tend to see more spoken poetry than written poetry? Is it because all poetry is made to be spoken? or is it because of the technology advancement in man-kind? 
Altogether it is hard to say, and the answer will almost certainly be based more upon opinion than facts.

Modern day poets are highly affected by the social and economical situation they encounter during their lifetime, just like other poets during their lifetimes. Like how in postmodernism, the art was started by the living conditions during WWI. Today artists have created poetry in the form of music based off their living conditions and the problems around them; and depending on the artist, very different messages are displayed.

Now has modern day poetry (music) taken away all the complexity of poetry altogether? Some people will argue yes, and others will argue no. However, I believe the answer is based on the poet themselves and the poem they construct. 

Here is an examples of modern day poetry in the form of music:
(THIS IS UNCENSORED, it may not seem offensive to some but to others it might)

This is a link that breaks down the lyrics and shows what the artist is truly saying.

There are many different messages portrayed in different songs. One artist might have a very deep meaning about living conditions and the struggle of a race in one song, and then have another song about him partying and doing drugs. This does not relate to only one genre of music either, every genre of music has forms of poetry. Yet if their music has affected you in any way, then some people might put up an argument saying that this result is the definition of art. 

ENG 112

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cheat Sheet for "Life"


Know how to separate emotions from reasons
Have experimental altitude towards life
And mostly be your own motivator
Because Life is challenging so make it a little playground
If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable
You have disconnected yourself from what you truly want
And all that is life is compromise
Never compromise
It's not the strongest of the species that survive
Nor the most intelligent
But the ones' responsive to change
Always say yes to change
Your ideas are like diamonds
Without the refining process, they are just a dirty rock
But cutting away the impurities they become priceless
Be priceless
Life is your  strong will to win
The desire to succeed
The urge to reach your full potential
That hands over the keys to unlock the doors to personal excellence
There's a price to pay if you want to make things better
A price to pay just for leaving things as they are
A price for everything
Be willing to pay that price for what you want.
Irene Boachie.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Food Allergies/Intolerance Needs To Be Taken Seriously!

   Let me start off by saying that I am biased because I myself have a food allergy.  I triggered my Celiac Disease about 3 years ago.  It has been quite a journey with celiac disease.  I have my ups and downs but at the end of the day I'm blessed for the road that I have taken.   I eat healthier and actually became a vegan because I was used to cutting foods out of my diet. I don't eat meat, dairy, or gluten.

   I have a couple of issues that I wanted to bring to the readers attention on food allergies and food intolerance.

 Given that I have a food allergy, I know the struggle with eating out and being paranoid all the time.  I cook/bake all my own food but there are times when I like to eat out.  The problem with some of the people in our society, not all, is that they feel eliminating food from our diet is a trend.  In some cases it is, but there are a lot of people who have allergies and are intolerant of certain foods.  When these people have their orders taken  taken by a waiter/waitress they sometimes aren't taken seriously.  When a customer says they don't eat a certain food because of allergies or their intolerant they should not take it lightly.  With this said, it's up to the customer to point out their health concern and for the workers to be educated on contamination.
   I don't have kids yet but for those who do it's important to explain their children's food allergies or food intolerance's to teachers.  Some may say that teachers already have enough to do than to be on the children's cases about what they're eating.  I disagree with you and here's why.
   There are children with allergies and food intolerance's that react differently if they consume it or merely come in contact with it.  A child with a nut, egg, etc., allergy may have a tingling tongue or hives.  A child that has a severe allergy may need an EpiPen and medical assistance.  There are cases where children have died because of their food reactions.
A child's symptoms differ whether it's external or internal.  For example, a child who's intolerant to gluten may not have their throat close up, but can have a stomach ache.  This isn't just a regular stomach ache though.  Someone who has been diagnosed with celiac disease knows that if you consume gluten, your body will attack itself (autoimmune disease) and kill off some of your micro villi that aids in absorbing nutrients.  Not being able to absorb nutrients means your body is nutrient deficient which overtime can do damage your body.  For any living thing nutrients are important; especially for a developing children.  The time it takes for micro villi to grow back depends.  Often times it takes a couple of weeks to a month, but for adults who have done damage their whole lives it might take years or may never even grow back/be repaired.

   There was an instance where parents were complaining about having to sign a permission form for their child to eat a certain food in class as an experiment.  I respect the teacher for sending out the notice.  Sending out this permission form not only makes the parents aware of what the children are going to be offered, but it allows them to send their child to school with a substitute to that particular food that the class will be eating.  Children don't like being left out of activities.  It can do damage to them emotionally and psychologically.  Children don't always know what's best for them so having a teacher monitor what your child consumes is a big weight off parent's shoulders.  Parents can't always be there to tell their child not to trade foods at lunch or make them understand all the ingredients on labels.

Parents of sixth graders at a school in eastern Pennsylvania received a letter from teacher Darlene Porter asking for a signature allowing their children to eat an Oreo cookie

 Picture found:

Natalie Allen

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NEPAL: How can we help?


                          Are we able to help the affected people?

Every year the nature shows its devastating act. Different parts of the world are affected in different ways. Very recently Nepal has been almost destroyed by a massive earthquake. Over two thousand people were killed and millions lost their house and the source of living. The scenario is shown in this video. 

Many of us really feel bad and pray to God to help these people but only a few spreads their hands to 
help them. Fellow countries are showing their generosity and sending different kinds of help to them, but indeed that help is not enough. In situations like this the whole world should take part to re flourish the  country. This could be the condition of any country since no human being has the power to defeat the "Nature". But my question is are we ready to help such countries after such big natural calamities? And what are the best ways to make the help available to them?

M. Rocktim

English 112 (307A) 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Adoption From An Adoptee

  Being adopted is not all that cracked up to be all the time. By being adopted myself I have a hard time with it sometimes because I feel out of place in my adoptive family and sometimes with friends. After meeting my biological family, it makes it even harder for me to fit in because I know that I share genes, traits, and other things with my biological parents and siblings. I want to have a relationship with them, but it is really hard because they live in another state and they have their own lives. Also sometimes I feel like I'm betraying my adoptive parents. When people hear that I'm adopted, they ask why and many people's answers can be different from my answers. I think adoption is not all that great is that because I have trouble with my feelings towards my biological family and fitting in with my adoptive family. Also adoption is difficult for anyone involved.
Even though I feel like this, I am truly blessed with both of my families and that I'm adopted, but I would adopt if I had the choice later in life since I want to help a life of a child in the foster system.

Kim C.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Call for Online Course Reformation

To whom it concerns,

I firmly assert that the penny-pinching, similar course mass-producing ELI (Extended Learning Institute) with instructors as overseers rather than teachers and students as numbers on a spreadsheet, while necessary, is grossly mismanaged and probably underfunded.

* Interjection: please excuse the bi%&ing and moaning in this next paragraph and, if you only want to read about my opinions on the NOVA ELI program, skip to the third paragraph of this text.

I am currently finishing up my AA at NOVA and attempting to attain/retain a GPA of 3.8 or higher for certain honors. To wit, NOVA only requires a 3.8 for Summa Cum Laude. While my UVA application is already submitted and any perspective future employers will likely pay little attention to the honors from my NOVA AA, I feel that due to my absurdly good work-ethic and the ridiculous and non-quantifiable magnitude of my scholastic efforts thus-far, that I deserve the aforementioned "HighEST Honors," rather than simply Magna Cum Laude, or "High Honors."

As I struggle to keep up my GPA toward the end of my NOVA journey, my scholastic struggles are most arduous vis-a-vis my online, or ELI, courses. At present I am under the boot of English Literature 243 via the ELI program. While the syllabus is very straightforward and the instructor is both pleasant and attentive, the overall course grade, to my horror, is comprised of thirty percent writing and analysis (in which I am quite proficient) and seventy freaking percent exams. This is an English course! What the crap?! So, as I deal with tax season, financial aid red-tape, UVA admissions, life outside of academia (forgot that existed, anyone?), and other classes which include my dreaded Achilles' heel -- The evil demon of Math, as I am a Historian and a writer, not a mathematician or scientist...  I must avoid the tangent (or possibly entirely disjoint topic) of the Math and Science requirements for Liberal Arts students... Ugggh! Anyway, as I pour over all of that and more, I must concern myself with finding my way through the abysmal amalgamation of course material that I am expected to know in order to answer multiple choice questions in a testing center followed by two short essays of completely unknown topics. But, these issues are not mutually inclusive to this particular ELI course. As I have now, out of necessity, taken three ELI courses (including this ENG 243), which is four too many, I find myself pondering how and if NOVA's entire ELI system may be reformed. I have come to the conclusion that someone must pick up this sword. I cannot wield it, as my burden in other battlefields of academia is too great in both magnitude and intensity. Someone new to NOVA, a Freshman in any 2015 semester, must organize these and any other applicable issues as well as proposed solutions, begin a petition, attain signatures, and, finally, approach one of the Deans at a NOVA campus. 

Off the top of my head... 
Abolishing the ELI is counterproductive and impossible. The ELI, in-and-of-itself, is a wonderful concept, people need it, and the institution makes mooooooney. Therefore, I spitball the following ideas regarding reform:

ELIMINATE the Discussion Board requirements (keep them as optional, even if no one posts).

ELIMINATE HUGE weight on exams with little or no weight on other assignments.

DEMAND a certain minimum % value worth of extra credit options for any given ELI course.

That's all I have right now...

What do you think? Any reformation ideas?

Thanks for letting me vent,

P.J. Wordsmith

Monday, March 23, 2015

Become Unbroken

Many times in my life I have faced disappointment. Whether in myself, or in other people. When things don't go the way I want them to, I want to breakdown and cry. I know I'm not the only one. These things happen and it can bring out the worst in people.
In the past, I felt the need to seek approval from others. I constantly imitated others because I wasn't sure what I wanted for myself, neither did I know who I was or who I wanted to become. I started to come to a realization that I needed to accept where I am and take myself to where I want to go.

I would say failure is my greatest fear. I hate to fail at something, especially if it is something I'm really good at. Fear can stop you from doing the things that you love the most. Over time I have learned to trust in something far greater than myself and that has helped me stay motivated in what the future may hold. So listen up people: 

Know that you're in control, don't let things destroy you and stand up for yourself. Live your life and work at everything with your all. I know things are easier said than done, but that shouldn't stop you. Give it a shot and see where it takes you.

I love being inspired and watching this video made me feel motivated to live my life to the full. Hope it motivated you to do the same!

"Let what you love, be what you do." -Rumi
-Alexandra Dimas
ENG 112

Why Africa?


The world came into the existence the same day according to Christian belief, and God declared that all things were perfect, but what do we see today? While some parts of the world are progressing in life, other parts are retrogressing. The Africa continent happens to be the first point of attack when calamity strikes. Do we always blame nature for every woes that Africans are going through, or bad leaders? Comparing Africa to the rest of the universe shows clearly that Africa has no future in the sense that the young ones we proud ourselves of are wasting due to child labor and street children menace.  Young and school going children have abandoned their education, and moved into inhumane ventures. It is sad to see children cracking stones to earn one square meal. They move on the streets like sheep without shepherd. They are under the mercies of all the harsh weather conditions.

At times it difficult for one to comprehend why these children are been going through such condition in the full glare of the politicians we have entrusted our destiny to. It is only Africa that a politician can be still at post when those under his care are struggling to earn a living. At times I ask myself “Why Mama Africa?” This question has remained unanswered for years, yet we have greedy politician who are in-charge. It sad to hear that some countries in Africa have a whole ministry for children affairs, yet children are going through these inhumane conditions. Is there any sense in creating a ministry, which does not serve the purpose of, which it was created? Africa is loosing its productive youth as voluntary slaves to the West, and those left home are been going through hell because of greedy politicians. Looking at this documentary shows that Africa is far from development. How can the government allow these little children go into such deadly venture without any good measures to deal with this menace?. Is governance system working at all in Africa? We were made to believe that government seeks the needs of all people, but it is not in Africa. In Africa, government is for the rich. The politicians paint Africa as a continent with bright future, but I bet to differ because of increased street children and child labor. I will take this medium to plead with all politicians on the continent of Africa to wake up, and be responsible for once to save Mama Africa.

ENG112 009A