I've posted my most recent blog post on Medium. It looks at the influence society can have over a blooming identity and how I found confidence throw growing up with a pop star.
My final semester as an undergraduate is in full swing. Oddly enough, as my college career has progressed, the classes have become the easy part. The beauty of being a media major is there is always a new project to work on.
This semester I'm producing our tri-weekly broadcast, taking two literature courses to finish up my Creative Writing degree, producing and working weekly sporting broadcasts, working as a lab assistant to maintain the department's media equipment, as well as planning and accomplishing two independent studies (the first focused on directing a play and two short films, the other co-producing a simulcast of our university's film festival at the end of the semester).
All of these projects bring new challenges, new friends, and new opportunities to learn and hone my skills. I'm honored to be a part of all of them and look forward to sharing what I learn and achieve with you.
In addition to the above projects, I've also been making time to write by blogging on an eclectic array of life topics as well as revise my novel. Below is the link to my latest blog post regarding relationships and trust explained through the light of medical metaphors. Enjoy.
Several months ago I submitted a brief piece to Thought Catalog. While the piece will not earn me the Nobel Prize by any stretch of the imagination, it was meant to provide peace and perhaps perspective. The ripping of a relationships is painful no matter the circumstance. However, it can, if allowed, create room for greater growth.
I'm pleased Thought Catalog chose to publish this piece. I hope it comforts those to whom it's immediately relevant.
Over the course of my existence, I've been exposed to many different institutions of learning such as private schools, community colleges, self-learning, homeschooling, community college, universities, public schools, etc.
There is one common theme that underlines every class at every school that I've witnessed: What is the take away?
I'd say homeschooling is exempt from this as the general focus in my experience was learning and discovering why what was learned was relevant and should be learned. However, specifically at my own university and the universities I've interacted with throughout summers to ensure I graduate on time with my double major, I've found the focus to be on finding the main, obvious point, and then moving on.
And while that seems like a worthy pursuit overall, I have come to resent that fact. You see, it is a result of this ambition that I've learned to skim. Yes, read at a faster pace in order, not to glean and understand, but to find the facts and move on.
I find this habit that is now engrained in myself inefficient, ineffective, and infuriating. Why? Because now, when I got read an interesting article, book, etc. that is my first instinct, to skim. In fact, it takes a great deal of work to remove myself from that mindset and read normally.
The end goal orientation of American education has gutted the love of learning and implanted a sense of "find, memorize, forget". The facts I've learned hang useless without context. I find my communications are stunted because I don't understand ideas but simply their main facts and who made them. Perhaps I can tell you the dates of Napoleon's battles. But what use is that? I can't apply his reasoning or use him as an example because I don't understand the motivation and circumstances that drove him to war. Why? Because I learned to skin.
Reading as much as fast as I could was the goal. Not exploring and understanding.
In summation, my curiosity had been killed for the sake of a syllabus.
When I studied at Oxford last summer, I saw a glimpse of hope. Each week we were given a question and a library card accessing over 11 million books. We were then told to come back with a paper and explain our conclusion. We couldn't just find some facts. We had to explore people's lives, their work, their worlds in order to understand what was happening, why, and how it has shaped society today.
I learned more in those 5 weeks than I did in 3 years at my own university. Why? Because I didn't skim. I was given time to explore, conclude, and apply.
I hope, perhaps upon graduation, I will forget this new skill of skimming. I hope it's not a permanent fixture in my mind. I hope I can train myself back into a love for reading that could devour 500 pages in a few hours. Time will tell if the change is irreversible.
So I encourage you to find where your love of learning live and feed it, encourage it, nurture it. Because it seems the system that is meant to is currently unable.
On the bright side, Psychologists have a new dimension of addiction to test and write books on. However, the obsession with social media has cast a cloud over our self-esteems and therefore our relationships.
But this is not a post about the technology take-over. This is a post about Snapchat. But it's not a post about whether or not society as a whole should buy into it. This is a post about me (hence my name on the blog) and why I choose not to have it.
Snapchat is wonderfully popular. It's quick. It's silly. It's a bit like real-life charades to maintain a real-time communication line. Some people use it for triple-chinned selfies. Others use it for work to quickly show another co-worker something they're referencing or need help with. It's become one of the giants in social media along with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.
I do not have the app on my phone. All of my friends do. Am I an anti-social fun-killer, you ask? Nope. I enjoy communication (it's my major), I enjoy photography (it's my hobby), and I enjoy my friends (mostly).
I've chosen not to partake because of several reasons. The first two are easy:
1. The origin of Snapchat was predominantly sending suggestive images to other people. I'm not really into that kind of behavior. And if that was part of the initial purpose, I'm not sure I want to support it.
2. You can always tell who's a Snapchatter in public. Let's just say there are other levels of recognition I'm aiming for.
My final reason is the one that really convinced me not to even have it on my phone.
3. My love language is words of affirmation.
"Katie, what the heck does that even mean?"
There are five love languages. Touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, and gifts. You usually have one main one and maybe a secondary (Note: the way you show love is not always the language you want to receive). My secondary is quality time. This means that when I make, send, give, do, help, offer, etc. something to/for someone, I'm desperately hoping to be appreciated for that through words. Furthermore, with quality time, I'm looking for attention - I want to see that I'm worth someone's focus.
You know how you hear about girls getting bent out of shape because a guy took an hour to respond to her text? That's not a girl thing. That's an intuitive person thing. Some of us are incredibly self-aware. We are constantly reading situations and people and experiences in order to make them better. Add that with the combination above and you get neediness, a dependency on others to find confidence, self-love, fulfillment. That's not a healthy way to live.
I'm convinced the above breakdown in a main reason social media works in the first place; not because people want to communicate with each other so much as they want others to affirm their lives, opinions, meal choice. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are all slightly removed. It's you and a big space for the rest of the world who can choose to respond or not. Snapchat is like texting: one-on-one. Only it's more intense because it involved literally showing your perspective through the lens of the camera.
I love that ability. It's why I'm a photographer. I think sharing what I see can be such an amazing experience.
However, if I'm doing so everyday of my life, when I know I will desire a person to affirm what I'm communicating to them through my silly face, cereal, or whatever photo I send in a split-second, I'm going to actually generate more emptiness in myself. Because those people are not using that app to build me up as a person. They're using it to fill themselves up or simply have fun. Neither are giving actions, but taking. My expectations will not be meant because my insecurities are rubbing against the flaws of humanity.
Now, that last fact is true during real conversations with real human beings who have know the real you for your whole life. People are selfish. That's their default mode. But by choosing not to take part in perpetual cycles that I know are designed in such a way that they will only cause me to overanalyze things about myself that were just fine to begin with, I'm choosing to be a healthier me.