Can You Change the World… In 30 Days!

30 days.

One month from May 5th to June 5th.

I had 30 days to make or do something that was supposed to enter the global conversation and change the world. How was our team supposed to do that?

Are we supposed to cure cancer?     Stop world hunger?     Build schools for children?

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What could I possibly do in 30 days?

Make blankets and donate them to a wonderful animal shelter!

Our name: Fleece for Furry Friends

Our goal: Make fleece blankets and donate them to a shelter who needs them.

Before we continue, let’s get some background information to help you better understand how we even came up with this.

Background Information:

Caitlyn visited the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. As she visited, she was allowed to have one of the dogs “sleepover”. When the dog got to where her family was staying, he instantly curled up to one of the blankets they had prepared for the dog.

She wanted to have as many dogs as possible have the same feeling of comfort. The feeling that a dog gets when he curls up with a warm, soft blanket.

So, knowing this was a great idea, we made a plan…

Planning:

  1. Contact NKLA Adoption Center in West Los Angeles run by Best Friends Animal Society and get their approval
  2. Raise funds
  3. Buy blankets
  4. Make the blankets
  5. Visit shelter and donate the blankets
  6. While we were doing all of these things, we made social media accounts.

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Action:

Caitlyn contacted the shelter and got the approval, so that was a great start! Raising the funds was a very big success. Vivian and I raised a total of $63.36. Even more than the $50.00 we planned to raise! Next came the process of making the blankets, done by Caitlyn and one of our amazing friends, Jenna. After getting all of the blankets ready to go, Caitlyn, Vivian, Phuong and I went to the NKLA Adoption Center in West Los Angeles run by Best Friends Animal Society that gave us the go ahead earlier.

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Three of us (plus our two extra amazing friends) got together and made this a reality…

Results and What I Learned:

This was an extremely successful and rewarding experience! We saw how well kept, fed, and loved these animals were. One of the most important things for me personally is that I also gained insight on how shelters aren’t just wet, smelly dirt holes made to keep aggressive strays from the streets or people’s homes. They’re meant to be a temporary oasis for animals looking for a kind soul to take them in. That was the most important thing to me. Sure, I helped some great animals and people, and I’m happy I did that! But understanding what a shelter is really meant for, what it does for the animals and people looking to add a new member for the family… That is what made this experience extremely memorable for me.

So, 30 days later and I actually did some pretty amazing things…

What can you do in 30 days?

Nelson Mandela

I Participated in a… BRAWL!

If you’re thinking that I did this…

Sharkeishanoooo

You’re wrong.

I participated in a debate. A fun debate of sorts. And, I want to share the experience with you.

So, you may be wondering how a “brawl” is even set up? Well, every team (in groups of three or four) gets a series of questions. There are two judges, including the moderator. Two players from the team compete against two others from another team. There are also buttons so that one person from another group could intervene and interject with their own point of view by hitting some noise-making buttons (making things interesting when they don’t agree with any of the groups). We had two “rounds” of the brawl for our topic (which was split into two parts). Both rounds have the same rules applied except that no one can go twice unless you are in a group of three.

One person from two different groups are trying to quickly interject...

One person from two different groups are trying to quickly interject…

On the day of the brawl, they must be prepared to answer any of the questions given against any other group. So, my group and I wanted to make sure that we could do our best.

In the final round, the top three groups compete.

In the final round, the top three groups compete.

So, what did I do to help my group do their best? Lots of research and Google presentation. The amount of research you do is the difference between losing the first round or making it into the finals. I would use Google presentations to format the information into a presentable, clear manner. (That’s important when you’re brawling.) I was very dedicated. Staying up until 3:00 A.M. just to get the formatting done. Sure, it was a pain, but it was all worth it when we made it to the final round!

So, what were the series of question based on? All Quiet on the Western Front. This novel connects to the Global Conversation with it’s captivating and moving plot of how a German teen’s life changes forever when he volunteers to be a soldier to fight in WW1. Questions about if war is really necessary or if it’s better to care about your physical needs or spiritual needs really hit home… A lot of heated rounds of the brawl really sparked towards the end of our session.

But, at the beginning of the brawl, my colleagues couldn’t get excited. The mood seemed very dull to me, the air was stale. So, what did I do? I became a hype man. I started cheering wildly when a group came up. I made a YouTube playlist of high energy songs just for the brawl and wiggled in my desk, making people laugh and cheer, excited for the next group going up. I clapped louder than Zeus’ lightning and cheered louder than a KPOP fangirl! Yes, I improved it by adding a hype man, ’cause you always need  someone to get that energy started!

2009 VH1 Hip Hop Honors - Peformances

In all seriousness, debating in this style and reading All Quiet on the Western Front gave me new insight into WW1 that my history teacher couldn’t teach. It helped me to get closer to the colleagues that I competed against. And, it showed me most of all that hard work pays off.

Looking Back on My Blogging Adventure

New. I started this blog in late September. And, it’s been… interesting (to say the least). I’ve learned a lot of new things about blogging and have been shown the true light of what blogging is — a way to express oneself (like drawing or playing the cello).

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Technologically impaired. What I am. So, blogging wasn’t an easy task. I had to have help from the very beginning. What wasn’t difficult? The blog name. That’s it. I couldn’t come up with pictures or come up with things to talk about (at first) or come up with how to write a blog post that will capture the minds of any innocent passer-by on the internet. I thought that I could never really get far, because I could barely insert pictures into my posts.

Why?

Quite simply, to get out of my xenophobic box. For the longest time, I couldn’t find a place to express my true emotion about certain topics, nor had the courage to. By blogging, I have learned to release those emotions and passions into writing.

But eventually… you’ve got to try! And, you learn something new everyday!

I finally found something that worked for me… Just trying! So, I mustered up all the courage I had. And, I made my first blog post! After that, I just kept going. I had eventually learned how to open up and write with less anxiety. Post my blogs without anxiety. I even decided to look up things and include some interesting links into some of my blog posts.

I also learned how to tag something, make categories, and see who thought I was pretty cool (my followers) and their sweet posts.  I learned how to connect it to other social media sites. I learned that people could even insert other people’s blogs into their own blogs.

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But, what was the most important concept I learned? What was the toughest barrier I broke?

Stereotypes. Ever since I saw the word blogger, I already had nasty misconceptions about them. Dirty. Never go outside. Nerdy. Do not socialize. Are extremely rude online. Talk behind peoples’ back on their blog.

Honestly, now that I’ve gone through with blogging, I realize that I was wrong. Clarification. Epiphany.

What can you improve on?

Social media. Spreading the blog on social media has been extremely difficult, because I’m so awkward with sharing my posts. And, honestly, I didn’t think that I was supposed to share it on my Facebook and twitter. So, now I’m learning how to share my blog with others.

So, what has worked for you?

Posts on topics I am passionate about have helped me a lot. From talking about loneliness to school to fandoms, things that I love talking about are the most fun to write! Also, I’ve noticed that using a picture that you have downloaded works better than a picture that you copied and pasted the url from.

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Now that you’ve been blogging for a while, what advice would you give to people who are starting to make their own blogs?

Individualize. Make your blog yours and post whatever content you feel will enhance your blog. Enhance it with your taste and style! From using your own pictures to the way you write to the topics you choose to use in your posts, you make the blog what it is. Yours. And yours alone.

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Reflecting on my blog is something that helps me to clear my head, to help me see the strengths and weaknesses of myself. When I look at this blog, I will be reminded to keep doing my best and improving so I can keep making great content for my followers. I love this blog, and you’ll be seeing some great things in the future.

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Everyone has a Story— and Mine is the Most Important One(to me.)

Your own story.

Everyone has them. Thor, that girl sipping her tea at a Barnes and Noble, your math teacher, your boss, your mother… A story in which the pages are written with their life’s journey and bound by life and death. A story that can be shared with the world or hidden for a thousand years.

Your own story.

Is that not the most important thing to anyone in their own lifetime?

Of course it is the most important thing to you. You are the hero of your own story. You then have the friends and family and then you have the outer circle of acquaintances and the extras. From everyday activities to monumental achievements within your own life, your story grows day by day and page by page…

So, does this sort of thing interest you? Make you want to find out if there’s even a word for it? Then take a careful look at this beautifully crafted blog post about one’s own discovery of a person story and how they will forever remember that they are the hero of their own personal story.

A Cluster of Ideas

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n.the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

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Something to Consider: Everyone Depends on the Government

One of the many things that is associated with the socioeconomically challenged is the idea that they have food stamps and many benefits programs whilst the middle and upper classes do not. This brings about the bad connotation that they are absolutely dependent on the government like a newborn baby is to their mother, clingy and always needing more and more and more…

Food Stamps: When you get stamps that pay for certain foods.

So, you may be wondering how someone can get these food stamps? You must fill out the application and send it to your county office or online at the appropriate website.

You also need the following proper pieces of paperwork:

  • Identification
  • Where you live
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Money in the bank for all the people in your household
  • Earned income of everyone in your household for the past 30 days NOTE: If self- employed, income and expense or tax records.
  • Unearned income

You will also have to attend an interview in which they decide whether or not you are eligible. If you are eligible, (Congratulations!) you will receive your food stamps within 30 days of your application. If you’re not eligible, you could always try again!

Subsidized Housing: When the government pays for your a large sum of your housing payments.

Now, some of you may be thinking… “Pay for my house Obama!” or “Man, I can’t wait to live in my Obama-house!” But, before you do, there are requirements. You need the typical proper paperwork, identification, low income (of course), and other considerations.

Free or Subsidized health care: When the government pays for a large sum of your health care fees

You may have heard about this as being “Obamacare”. And, while that is a program that allows you to get insurance, there are many more programs out there waiting to be used by the right people! Of course, with the proper paperwork, you may be eligible.

Did you know that the middle and upper classes also get some good government support?

Since many people love thinking that the upper classes have no worries and shouldn’t worry on government hand outs, let’s focus on the middle class.

Here are a few benefits that the middle class can receive…

Tax write offs: property tax deductions for homeowners

As a homeowner, some of your home expenses such as:

  • mortgage interest
  • casualty loss
  • Deprivation on home

And, there is more where that came from. This greatly reduces the amount of taxable income that you have to pay.

Deductions for vehicles: deduct your vehicle registration fees to reduce your taxable income

Charitable contributions: when you donate to some organizations like Goodwill, Salvation Army, St. Jude’s Hospital, (and many more) you can deduct the amount that you donated from your taxable income

Some may ask how this works. Well, let’s say you donate $50 to Salvation Army. When it comes around to filing (and paying for)  your taxes, you won’t have to be taxed on the $50 you donated to that organization. This is a great way to help more people than just yourself.

So, bringing the point home. Everyone depends on the government for benefits, so why are the lower classes stuck with a negative connotation. Let’s end this class inequality and just accept the fact that every single person needs their government!

It’s About You and the Road You Travel

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

-Henry David Thoreau

At the time, in the high school I went to, there was a thing called class rank. Out of 918 students, you could see how well you were doing in your class. Well, at least, that you could see how much better than everyone else you were…

It seemed especially prevalent in my sophomore year. I was ranked 18 overall, so I wasn’t getting worried about anything. Other people who ranked higher than me would always scoff and say how they felt that they shouldn’t be rank 5 or rank 12. I would usually let it get the best of me and think about how many AP and honors classes I wanted to have.

But, I let this immature side of me go as I thought about balance.

balance

While I knew that being in the top ten was my goal, I also understood that balance and doing well in all of my classes is the true goal. I can’t be stuck in my room all day trying to do four AP classes worth of homework. I needed some AP classes, but only in classes I knew I would get an A in, since getting a B in one means just the same as getting an A in a regular class.

Still in the upcoming weeks, talk about rank roared in conversations in class and on the internet.

Still frazzled with more people complaining about rank than ever before, I decided to go see a guidance counselor. Who explained that most schools “don’t even use ranking anymore” and how “it has become obsolete because it doesn’t show how smart you really are”. Breathing a sigh of relief I realized that everything was okay.

everything is okay

He also reminded me that I should just do everything in my power to “get good grades and have fun in all the classes I choose”, and I intend to keep it that way.

Your rank doesn’t define you. It doesn’t tell you how smart you really are. It doesn’t tell you that even though you wanted to die, you managed to get a C in algebra 2/trig. All it says is that based on this grade, you are placed here. Is rank the only thing students want their college admissions officers to see? Of course not, and they also don’t want to know just grades or rank as well.

To everyone else who is peer pressured to do things that will supposedly “help your future”, I would just tell you that you need to do what you need to do to accomplish your goal(s). They’re your goals, not theirs. And, you’re going to live with the consequences of your choices.

Choose what is best for you, not what society says is “best for you”.

Three Reasons as to Why: People Get Butthurt About What Other People Say

Butthurt.

I’m pretty sure that we’ve all been in a situation where one of our friends has gotten easily offended over a joke or a small comment…

A couple of groups that you might consider great examples of being butthurt are the Westboro Baptist Church, people who do something and get offended when others mention that thing, radical fans, and Peta.

What do these people/groups have in common?

Ignorance, immaturity, and lack of logical communication are why 99% of people are butthurt. These have one, more than one, or all three of these concepts.

Let’s start off with ignorance, shall we? Ignorance is just people’s lack of knowledge. It is not the same as stupidity. You can fix people’s ignorance. However, you can not fix people’s stupidity. So, how does stupidity play out for the groups that get easily butthurt? With lack of knowledge comes lack with understanding. Butthurt people don’t know any better, so they get offended easier than people who can properly understand what you’re trying to say. Fixing their ignorance would definitely lower the number of incidents where they get butthurt.

Additionally, we have immaturity. Some, but not all, do have maturity issues… This lack of maturity is somewhat similar to ignorance. Maturity gives you a plethora or information and how to apply certain information. The ability to apply the certain information is what separates the immaturity from the ignorance. With ignorance, you don’t really know the information, so there is no real way to apply it. When you have immaturity, you have the information but don’t know how to apply it. Although, there may be times where they both come into play.

And, without fail, there is a lack of logical communication 99.9% of all incidents where people get butthurt over something. With this lack of logical communication, anything is up for interpretation. And, that’s where things get a little tricky. With this lack of logical communication, words get skewed and intent is lost. This is probably the number one reason as to why these incidents even happen in the first place.

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To the people who get butthurt easily, calm down. Everything will be just fine. Just remember that you are you and pay attention to the signs that I mentioned above.

Home Is Where the Heart Is, but Don’t Forget Where You Are

When I went on my first trip to Las Vegas, it was an experience that totally changed my life. It was the first time I had gone somewhere with friends without my parents. No, I wasn’t gambling or anything like that. I was competing in a band competition. Did I miss home before I fell asleep on the uncomfortable mattress look-a-like they called a bed? Yes. I had even called my parents ten minutes before hand. I was a little nervous, but, overall I knew I was going to be safe and have a great time. The longer I stayed, the more I started to embrace the moment.

Yes, there are a lot of people who get homesickness easily, but it is important to remember that it will be okay and to embrace where you are. Otherwise, how are you supposed to enjoy it? By worrying about home, you start to miss out on the trip and the meanings and memories that should be associated with that trip. Besides, No one really likes being a worried while they’re trying to have fun, right?

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I know, some people don’t even feel the homesickness and others feel it right when the leave their neighborhood. Interesting how people are so different. But, there’s no need to worry about worrying. There’s no right amount of homesickness and most people just say that it’s a natural feeling…

But, to those suffering from severe homesickness, there is hope… There are many websites that offer advice on the subject and how to help you through it. And, you are not alone, but something to note is to just embrace the outside world no matter how hard it may seem at first. And, there are other ways to get better.

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One of my personal favorite ways to relieve homesickness is writing things down in a journal to help me write out my feelings and process my thoughts. By doing this, I am able to understand how I’m feeling, how to identify triggers, and how I can better cope with it.

Honestly, it’s okay to be homesick, and at times, the outside world can deem big and scary, but knowing what’s out there is only half the battle. Really getting out there is the other half. So, don’t be afraid to explore and have fun!

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Things You Don’t Do: Lie

Not the truth. A web you cannot get out of. A temporary escape…

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Whether or not it was told to help someone else or to help yourself, a lie will (and can) hurt you and everyone else around you.

You can lose many things with lies: trust, friendship, public persona, even your livelihood

So, are lies ever a good idea to tell? No. However, some people may consider “white lies” to be “harmless” and even taken as a compliment. The truth is, whether white or not, your lie is a lie. All lies are eventually found out and all lies are not worth telling. Telling the truth is much more important than you think. When you think about it, would you rather have someone tell you a white lie saying that you’re good at math or the truth saying that you might need a little help. Well, with the truth, you can at least fix your situation and get better. With that white lie, you believe in something that is false and it will show through eventually.

Trust

Your lies can even cause someone to stop having a relationship with you. Because you have lost their trust, you lost the connection that you shared with them. The worst part is, once they’ve known that you’ve lied to them once, they start to question everything else you’ve said. You ruin your reputation with that person. That person who cares about you and loves you for you is now faced with your lie. It does hurt, and if they do forgive you, it does take a long time to rebuild the trust you once had.

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Can you prevent lying? Through behavior techniques or some magical syrup, can you prevent lying?

Well, you can try to prevent it, but you can never really cure it. Through behaviour, seeking outside help, and making a commitment, you can help keep the person you love and care about on track.

With keeping understanding and monitoring your loved one’s behaviour, your loved one can understand and recognize what it is that is making them lie and how to back track from it. When you seek outside help, for example, a therapist, that outside force does not have the bias of the person being a loved one. They are simply a neutral force to guide them on the path to recovery. Making a commitment is the hardest thing to do and the most important thing to do. Their commitment will be a symbol to stop their lying and proceed to move forward into a lie-free life.

Of course, like I said before, there is no magical way to cure lying… but this is a great way to prevent and help lower the rate of lying.

Remember, all forms of lying are wrong. And, as the old saying goes, honesty is the best policy.

Fandoms: How to Get Your Friend Into One

Have you ever had a situation like this when you were trying to show your friend something you like?

I can show you the world

The fandom. Something that I believe has existed since Star Trek, and it may have even existed before that. Belonging to one gives most people something to talk about with strangers. It even helps to make new friends. Having your stubborn friend to join a fandom seems like a fantastic idea. So, how do you get a friend into a fandom?

There are three main steps to get your friend into a fandom:

  • introduce subject of the fandom
  • introduce the fandom and how it works
  • how to apply the friend into the fandom

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