Think Different

In 1997 Apple Inc. created a new advertising slogan, “Think Different.” I was really affected by the original concept of the campaign and the philosophy it reflects. The original text is below. I found it on Wikipedia.

Apple Inc. Think Different advertising slogan in 1997.

Apple Inc. Think Different advertising slogan in 1997.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
 

In the past year I’ve experienced so much, not even a fraction of what life has to offer. It’s overwhelming, but I think I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life and that is change the world. There’s so much wrong in this world that doesn’t have to be. I’ve been joking recently that my to-do list gets longer and longer with every mention of world news and how am I going to save the world when the world is working so hard to prevent being saved. I know it’s not a one person job, but talking about it this way makes me feel obligated, responsible to affect change- or at least try. I have one whole life to live and when I’m gone, everything I wanted and everything I had will be inconsequential. I’ve always been passionate about living my life for others, but I think the idea really embedded itself into me since I’ve arrived here at Virginia Tech. With all the opportunities for self-discovery and learning about others, it’s hard not to come away with the idea that we are not alone in this world, so why live only for ourselves? Anyway… I digress.

Steve Jobs was a great, smart man. In 1994 he spoke in a documentary by PBS, offering his wisdom. Like Jobs, I’ve seen a trend in the way people approach the idea of “life” in that it is an existing, predetermined structure, that we are all pieces in the game and we follow the path to the Candy Castle or we get stuck in the Molasses Swamp on the way. That’s not true at all. I like to believe that we can affect the game board; that we are the path, not the pieces. As Jobs put it, “when you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world… That’s a very limited life.” I want my life to be broader than those smothered by this simple idea that the world is unchangeable. It’s not. I, like Jobs, want to change life to make it better.

I want “to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.”

Though I haven’t figured out what medium through which I’ll attack all the messed up things in this world, whether it’s through pursuing a degree in higher education and working to reform the cookie cutter university model, or bringing my fresh ideas based in ethics to the world of corporate finance, or flying to Nepal to work with orphan children and pursue my purely humanitarian interests. All I have in mind is the end goal for now. I’m going to change the world and I’m going to stray from the path on the game board; I’m taking the Gumdrop Pass (whatever I decide it will be).

Religion: wisdom from the Dalai Lama

Quote

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

– the Dalai Lama

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Ctrl+F and the chronicles of Nerd Girl

Me (right) dressed up for Nerd Day in high school.

Me (right) dressed up for Nerd Day in high school.

Whenever someone asks “If you could have a super power, what would it be?” my response is always “I want to be able to use the Ctrl+F function of computers in real life situations.”

I loose things a lot, more like misplace things. I like to call what I do “hiding things from myself” and I’m really good at it. I once managed to lose an important paper my teacher passed out in class within a matter of seconds. I was holding it and the next second it was gone… I couldn’t find it anywhere and it actually really creeped me out. I never saw it again.

So the Ctrl+F function is my favorite thing about computers because it allows me to find anything I want without having to put in too much effort. Reading an essay for class and writing a follow-up paper on… let’s say women in the media? No problem. Use Ctrl+F to find whatever evidence you need to support your argument that women are underrepresented in the media, but they’re such bad asses.

So if it were possible, my super power would be to employ the function Ctrl+F in my daily life. I know what you’re thinking, “this girl must lose her keys all the time and hopes that she’ll be able to find them with Ctrl+F.” I will admit that at one point in my high school career, my parents had at least 10 back-up keys made for me because it was inevitable that I’d lose most of them. However cool it may be to not have to worry about where I’m putting things down, like my keys for example, I could use it for all sorts of things.

After I’ve found my third set of lost keys from high school,  maybe I’m pretty worn out and I’ve lost my motivation to do homework or study for the exam I have tomorrow. Losing my motivation happens frequently so if I were able to Ctrl+F to find the motivation to continue to do well in school and complete my assignments on time, that would be just wonderful.

Another problem I have fairly often is losing my direction in life. I know I want to save the world, but sometimes I just see myself working for a huge corporation that  cares about money and profit more than the well-being of society as a whole. I sometimes find myself conflicted in the way I picture myself in the future- what I’ll be doing, where I’ll be, who I’ll be with. If I could Ctrl+F to clarify what I’m really hoping to get out of life and how to get there, that would just be wonderful too.

Sometimes after making a poor decision or regretting the way I handled a situation, I fear that I’m losing touch with my values, who I am. That’s the scariest part of growing up. You’re finally beginning to figure out who you are and what that means, but you can’t guarantee from one day to the next that you’ll still want to be that person. What if the world sees your compassion and desire to please others as vulnerability and walks all over you. You’d become cynical. You’d lose touch with your values to compensate for your so-called vulnerabilities and fight back against the ones who are pushing you around. Sorry, I went on a rant because I’m experiencing a little bit of this right now in my life. So wouldn’t it be just wonderful to be able to press the Ctrl+F sequence on your keyboard to reaffirm your values and remind you why you value compassion and understanding- keeping you moving in the right direction!

BUT PLEASE don’t think I’m selfish. I would share my talents with anyone who needed them. I could help that underprivileged youth who’s lost his way and ended up in a dangerous situation to reevaluate his decisions and find his direction in life. I could help the corrupt politicians in the world find their values and use their positions of authority for the good of the whole people, to enact change that makes my job of saving the world a little easier. This power has so many useful applications in today’s world, I can’t even stand the fact that it’s not possible.

Saving the world with Ctrl+F. It’s my dream. You can call me Nerd Girl if you want.

Election night in Virginia and political blatherings

After D. Terry McAuliffe was elected Virginia’s new governor last night, I went on social media to see what people were saying about it, which I never feel like doing because people are jerks to each other when it comes to politics. I found a comment under a post on the Facebook page for libertarian candidate for governor that made me smile. I love when I discover that there are sensible people in this world.

Mr. G (as I will refer to him so as not to compromise his identity) said, “I too have learned valuable lessons through ‘wasted’ votes. For the first half of my political life I wasted votes on Democrat candidates who promised social liberty and delivered scandal and financial ruin. The second half of my political life, I wasted my votes on Republican candidates who promised fiscal responsibility and delivered foreign entanglements and declared war on civil liberties. Never again! In 2012 I cast my vote for Gary Johnson for President, and for the first time, felt clean when I left the voting booth. Never again will I be persuaded to cast a vote out of fear of ‘the Other Guy!’
Robert Sarvis has EARNED my vote. It was not gained through fear, or bribery. It was indeed earned through commitment, conviction, candor and character. Sarvis is the best man for the job, and the ONLY candidate who is truly devoted to the cause of Liberty for ALL Virginians.”

If you don’t know about the (cough… cough… largely incapable… cough) candidates for governor in Virginia, may I refer you to this reputable resource of political goings-on, a clip from a recent episode of the Daily Show.

I’ve never come out and voiced any sign of a political affiliation on social media before: partly because I don’t have very strong political opinions and partly because I’m a journalist and I want to appear unbiased to others. I don’t like to choose sides in arguments because I usually can see the merit in both perspectives; however, after the comment I read last night I gained a whole new perspective on my political views, if you can call them that, and the political system itself. I don’t have strong political affiliations nor do I have religious affiliations, but I do have good morals and that’s what I look for in people I vote for, people I’m friends with, and organizations with which I associate.

That’s the end of any kind of political input I will ever have on a form of social media so if you’re looking for some kind of passionate, heated argument in support of or against someone in a political office, don’t get your hopes up. I just get really frustrated when these sort of things, like corrupted politicians, get in my way of saving the world. It seems like every day my to-do list toward my goal of saving the world gets longer. But thanks for reading!

To see a picture of me with Al Madrigal of the Daily Show when he came to Virginia Tech to cover the last round of gubernatorial debates, click here.

Professional or Hobbyist?

After reading this post by suzie81 Professional or Hobbyist?, I accepted her challenge.

She asks, “Does somebody earn the right to call themselves a writer if they have been published once? Does a piece of work have to be published in a nationally or internationally recognised forum in order for it to be recognised as valid?

But what do you think? Do you refer to yourself as a ‘blogger,’ ‘poet,’ ‘writer’ or photographer? At what point do you feel it is acceptable to use these terms?”

I’ve asked myself the question and it does present some conflict. I call myself a student, a Resident Advisor, a daughter, a girlfriend, and the list goes on. But when I’m done with the obvious list of roles I have and it comes time to have the internal discussion about whether I can consider myself a “writer” or a “blogger,” I have an internally awkward, self-judging moment.

I write for the Collegiate Times newspaper on a weekly basis. I love to write news articles. I love to write period. Does that make me a writer? When I send emails to potential sources of information for a story, I introduce myself as a writer for the CT. In my signature at the bottom of the email “News Reporter, Collegiate Times” always follows “Resident Advisor.” Why shouldn’t I refer to myself as a writer. It is my passion, isn’t it? Isn’t writing what everyone has always wanted me to pursue in my life? But how can I put myself on the same level as George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Hemingway, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, William Faulkner, and J.K. Rowling. How dare I bestow upon myself the same label these people have claimed for themselves. All the recognition, all the dedication, all the passion I think it should take to steal that word for my own use will never be with me. Can I still call myself a writer? Is it wrong? Is it disrespectful to the greats? Or is everyone a writer, just on different levels? I’d like to call myself a writer, but then I feel guilty. I mean, I write. Still, I feel guilty when calling myself a “writer.”

Blogging is an entirely different monster. I do “blog,” but am I a “blogger?” It’s a similar debate; however, the internet seems so much more accessible to anyone than does publishing a printed work.

I am a college student, and a business major at that. I’m still only a teenager. I know most grammatical structures and can edit my friends’ papers fairly well. When, if ever, will I be able to call myself a writer? When, if ever, will I be able to call myself a blogger?

The truth that I know deeply is that it’s not the published works that determine one’s status as a writer. It’s the innate ability to translate thoughts into somewhat coherent words and feel relief at the page (or online post) holding the words you couldn’t stand to bear any longer. I am a writer because I see the world differently. I cannot paint a picture of the day I had in paint, but I can use words to illustrate what I need to convey to myself and to others. I can string words together like a song, but I cannot rap about society and politics in a bold and colorful way. I’m a writer because I find joy in the strategic arrangement of words. It’s not so much that I even love to write, it’s more that I feel a need to write. Despite the rejection and the painful criticism, from others, but more so from oneself, I’m a writer because I’m different in the ways that I want to continue being different.

I’m a writer because I don’t have to be, but I am anyway.

“Religion is the opium of the people” -Marx

Quote

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” -Karl Marx

A quotation always has the possibility to be interpreted as the speaker did not intend. Although, quotations severely lacking context have a greater risk for misguiding those who come across said quotation. While the famous quote “Religion is the opium of the people” suggests a perspective with anti-religion tendencies, with context the meaning changes to something completely different, or at least takes on a greater depth and requires further examination. I’ve frequently consulted these words by Karl Marx in my spiritual journey, but just found that this quote and what it meant to me has been misguided. I am forced to reexamine my progress spiritually.

My post about this Marx quote from July 2011 can be found here.

For more context, read… Intro: A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right by Karl Marx