Friday, January 29, 2016

Synthesis Paper

I'm having some trouble with the paper due soon. I have ideas that I think are good and creative, but I can't seem to get them out and write them in a way that makes sense. Every time I write, it feels very forced and when I read it back, I sound like kind of a pompous ass. I've been brainstorming in a lot of different ways, but I'm going to take a break from it and try to work on it again Sunday. Hopefully it works out better then.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Synthesis

Since I started living on campus, I find myself missing the simple moments at home with my family. We are avid Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks fans. Almost every night, unless there is something else very important on, we sit down to watch it together. We start out the evening by eating dinner. Before we all sit down, my mom is usually cooking, while my brother Tommy is playing games in the basement and my dad and I are sitting in the living room together. When dinner is done, Tommy or I puts forks, napkins, etc. on the table. As much as I would like to say otherwise, my mom is a terrible cook. She usually burns, under-cooks or uses too many spices on at least one part of the meal. Once my family and I sit down, my dad spends the meal making back-handed comments about how the food is terrible. The rest of us talk about our days and discuss what we're doing tomorrow. I can't honestly say that I miss the food, but I do miss the simple act of being with my crazy family for a few hours. After we have finished eating, Tommy and I clear the table, do the dishes and feed the dog. Once our chores are done, we sit down to watch the game or games. When I said we were avid fans, I really did mean it. We spend the next two and a half to three hours yelling at the TV, pointing out player, coach and referee mistakes with no mercy. Well, most of us do. My mom never really understands what is going on, especially with hockey. She spends most of the time reading a book and occasionally yelling happily when her favorite player scores. Tommy and I are both NBA enthusiasts, so we usually end up in a heated debate about a certain player, statistic or league decision. My dad will try to get to the end of the game, but ultimately will be in bed before the end, unless it is an important playoff game or close finish against another good team. Once, the game ends, Tommy and I follow in suit and go to bed. We go to bed happily if they win and upset or angry when they lose. I miss these nights more than anything. Every step of our night is planed out together, even though it is unspoken. I've gone home to watch games a few times, mostly on weekends, and it's like we haven't lost a step with being together. Whenever we talk on the phone, my dad and I will talk about the previous nights game or the upcoming one. We usually end up disagreeing, because he's not very confident in either team. Tommy and I will text each other about big moves in the NBA and he usually ends up making fun of me when one my favorite players does something stupid. This year, we received (almost) matching jerseys for the same player and while he says he's embarrassed to wear them in public with me, he always lets me know when he's wearing it. My mom doesn't know much, so we talk about other things. This ritual is so special to me, no matter how simple it is.

What does it mean when I say family? It means people that I love. It means people that are related to me, not just by blood or marriage, but by choice. My mom, dad, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, second-cousins, grandparents, etc are my family. But, my mothers childhood friend that I have known since birth is also family. My wonderful, funny, fantastic friends that I meet only five months ago are my family. Family is the people that are there for me when I need them, the people that would do anything for me and the people that I love to be around. I have family in Seattle, North Carolina and all over the state of Illinois. My father's sister lives in Ohio, but I have not seen or spoken to her since I was seven years old. I don't consider her family, not because I haven't seen her, but because she has no interest of being in my life. One of my favorite characters in a TV show said, "Family doesn't end in blood, but it doesn't start there either". I believe that family is a choice you make, with actions rather than words or blood or promises.

Choosing your family is like playing Deal or No Deal. You have to choose which people, which case to put your faith in. You choose whether or not to go partially in, all in or risk it all for another case or person. Sometimes you hit the lottery and sometimes you end up with nothing. Along the way, the crowd, or the people around you, put in their own opinions. Their opinions are either helpful or they plant doubt in your mind.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I Don't Know What to Write

I have a very uneventful life. I wake up earlier than I want, I go to classes that are too long, I come back to my room and take a nap that isn't long enough. I wake up and go eat dinner that is not very good and then I do homework that I don't want to do and go to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress. It's a hard-knock life for me. I really have nothing to write about. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What I Learned Today

I learned a lot today. I learned that the woman working in the Registrar office is not very friendly, I learned that I still dislike math as much as I did in high school, I learned that classes are much more fun when you have a friend in them and I learned about how to communicate through writing. I learned a lot about the tone, voice and attitude of an author. I also learned about how to manipulate those things to fit a specific audience. The lesson I connected with the most was learning how to look at a picture and find myself in it. Not my actual self, but the person I connect most with in it. I hope to be able to find myself in writings and allow readers to find themselves in my own writing.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Communication Responsibilities

What are our responsibilities when we blog? Do we have responsibilities to others when we communicate?

Blogs are a way to share ideas, stories and experiences with people we have never and may never meet. A blog about travel, football or music can be relevant to people on completely opposite sides of the world and it can connect the two people in a way that they never otherwise would have, but there are responsibilities that come along with it. The same responsibilities apply to communication offline and in person. Communication is the basis of all relationships, it is necessary to daily life. Bad communication is the reason most relationships, romantic or not, fail and bad communication stems from not fulfilling the responsibilities we have while communicating. Communication is a skill that can be learned and practiced by fulfilling these responsibilities. People need to be aware of who they are communicating with. The communicator, whether in person or online, has a responsibility to say things clearly and to explain references to popular culture that someone may not understand. We also need to be sensitive to the audiences issues, it is important to watch both what we say, how we say it and the nonverbal communication that goes along with it. Offending the people we speak to or the people reading the blog is counterproductive. One of the most important responsibilities we have as communicators is to listen and pay attention. Listening or reading carefully strengthens relationships and makes it easier to understand what the person is saying. It is equally important to observe nonverbal signals, such as emotions and reactions to communication. Communication is constant and interpersonal, we should always be practicing it, developing our communication skills and working to fulfill our communication responsibilities.