November 8 & 28, 2011

November 8, 2011

How many times have you gone on Facebook today? How many emails have you sent today? How many Twitter followers do you have? How often do you check your cellphone for text messages, emails, or missed calls? We live in an era where “facebooking” is part of our daily jargon. We live in a place where cellphones are causes of car accidents. We are wired all the time. We live in a technological world.

Just this morning, I sent a half a dozen emails within 10 minutes. In the next five, I went on Facebook, and clicked the red notification flags at the top left hand corner of my screen that told me someone had written on my wall and sent me an inbox message. Facebook just happens to top my “most visited” sites list. Even without cellular service or a television, I find ways to connect myself to “the outside world” with a mere stroke of a key. Warning: I’m going to be cliché.

What has the world come to? I guess the real question is: why are we so addicted to technology? (I know it’s not just me)

The whole concept of the Internet, cellphones, and televisions was for people to be connected even when thousands of miles away, and for people to access available information quickly and with ease. We use this technology to do everything from downloading movies to reading the news. Traditional letters have transformed into emails, and phone calls have turned into text messages with emoticons attached to them to denote emotions. Youth, in particular, inundate themselves with pop culture, social networking, and indecipherable music. This includes me as well. This being said, I am not criticizing our utilization of technology. Rather, I’m trying to understand why we use this technology the way we do and how this consumption is influencing us.

When it comes to the impacts of technology, there is the good and the bad. Let’s begin with the good. We are able to connect with people we haven’t spoken to in years. We can access news quickly and efficiently. We have information at our fingertips. We can send messages to people without waiting for extended periods of time. Regardless of whether we acknowledge it or not, technology facilitates our daily tasks.

What about the bad? Exposure to media has caused a universal “negative body image syndrome,” amongst teens and young adults. We have given up traditional, more “real” ways of communication for ease and speed. We care more about who is tagged in which photo rather than what is going on in the world. People are invited to important events through the Internet. Our virtual lives are far more interesting to us than reality.

So…what does this all mean? I don’t mean that we should sacrifice our access to the Internet or trash all our cellphones. I understand the limits of living without the technology we have. I’m eighteen. But…what if we used this gift we have for better purposes? We can use the connection we have to the whole world to make our voices heard. We can relay information that we believe is important. Make a Facebook status, group, or event. Tweet. Send an email. Text. Make a blog post. I don’t mean talk about Kim Kardashian’s divorce or Lindsay Lohan’s next court date. I mean talk about something that’s really important to YOU. Yes you. Maybe that does actually mean talking about Kim Kardashian or Lindsay Lohan. Don’t let technology control you. Rather, master it and make it your own. What’s your story?

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November 28, 2011

Last night in bed, I was thinking about who I was just a year ago. I was a senior in high school, bored and undecided. About what you ask? About everything. In twelve months, I’ve completely changed as a person. I always thought that change was bad. Change led to people growing apart. Change is different. The reality is that change is a normal part of life. Change shapes who we are through all our experiences, the challenges we take on, the obstacles we overcome, and the people we encounter.

My point is that I’ve even changed in the past three months. I could tell you all the new things I learned or habits I’ve adopted. But I won’t. There are too many things to mention.
Instead, I want to tell whoever’s reading this to have courage; courage to delve into the unexpected and unknown. I traveled thousands of miles by plane to the other side of the country. I had no idea what Nevada City was like, and I had to commit without knowing. Most teens and young adults aren’t willing to leave their life behind for something like my internship. Well, did you know that there are almost 200 countries in the world and seven billion people on the planet right now? Who knows how many animals and trees are in the world…it’s probably safe to say that you haven’t even seen a quarter of the world. I haven’t. If you have, that’s absolutely amazing.
There are so many things to see, to learn, and to experience to stay in one place for too long. We can never hope to understand different perspectives of the world without seeing them firsthand. By “seeing,” I mean more than just physically being able to look at things. The sense of satisfaction and adventure you get from leaving home and exploring new places is unreal.
This notion of having courage applies to anything, way beyond just traveling. Have courage no matter what you do. If you’re thinking about taking on a new challenge, just do it. No need to come up with more excuses not to. You will change. You will see the world in a newer way. It’ll feel remarkable.

2 days until departure. Until next time California.

-Skye Jang

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