Sunday, January 31, 2010
In other news...this semester is intense. And by intense, I mean it's the second week of classes and I need to have three books read by next week, as well as two short stories, two court decisions, and three articles. I also need to finish a cover letter, go over my resume, write the appeal to get into my major, and finish applying to scholarships. What the hell!? Not cool. Regardless, tomorrow I'm going to spend the day in San Francisco with one of my best friends from high school...I know that school-wise it isn't the best choice, but it's what I need, mental health-wise. For the most part I've been doing really well but I can feel some of my old insecurities and bad habits sneaking up on me and it's not good. Hopefully tomorrow will provide enough distraction/amusement/adventure/happiness to diffuse all the weird stuff going on with me. Not that things are going badly--honestly, things have never been better--but I'm just having to face some things that I've been avoiding dealing with. In any case, things are bound to look up...they have to. I'm really homesick as well; I love Berkeley and all (and I am so, SO happy here, especially with my new Birthright friends who I have bonded with more than I would have ever expected), but I haven't seen my family since December and it's been a really intense month and I just want to go home. Twelve days and I will be back in my bed, in my city surrounded by all of the people I love.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Standing in front of the Dome of the Golden Rock in Jerusalem :)
I have a lot of work to do this weekend--a ridiculous amount, actually, considering that it's the SECOND week of the semester--but I'm going to the Bus 862 reunion tonight! We're hosting Shabbat at Hillel and then hanging out...I'm really excited to see everyone. Tomorrow I'm studying all morning and watching Felicity in the afternoon, and Sunday I'm going to San Francisco to visit one of my best friends from high school. I'll get my work done, but I'm trying to have a little bit of a social life before school gets absolutely ridiculous this semester.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This year, we have broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. The idea here is simple: instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform – reform that raises student achievement, inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to inner-cities. In the 21st century, one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education. In this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than their potential.
When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all fifty states. Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans.Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. And it’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs – because they too have a responsibility to help solve this problem."
President Barack Obama's State of the Union was a brilliant exercise in eloquence, compromise, strength, and hope. Though there were many highlights, the section that obviously stood out the most to me was when he talked about education. I can only hope that he follows through on his words, because this is something that hits close to home for me and millions of other students in the United States, who are taught to "invest" in their education and thus begin their career as an adult in debt. With this job market the way it's been, it's getting harder and harder to justify spending money on a higher education; however, it's also getting harder and harder to get a job without a college degree. Let's hope that 2010 brings the change we need to truly reform the education system in America.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Just something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
This semester, I'm taking three upper division classes that fill prerequisites for my major, as well as a Decal (for CalTV). I was originally taking four upper divs, but quickly realized that I was definitely biting off more than I would be able to chew, and that I needed to take it easy so that I could succeed in all of my classes, as opposed to just barely managing to stay afloat.
First off, I'm taking Media Studies 103, which is "Understanding Journalism." The class is focused on--take a guess--understanding the role of news and journalists in American society, both past and present. Taught by Professor Tom Goldstein, who happened to have been the past dean of the Journalism schools at Columbia and Berkeley (!!), it's an insightful look at the way the press functions in our daily lives, and how it ought to function. It's really interesting, and though we've only had two lectures so far I really like it. The only downside is that it's an 8am class; luckily, the building it's in is right by my apartment, and it's nice having the whole day ahead of me.
Secondly, I have Media Studies 104A, which is "The First Amendment and the Press," which has quickly become my favorite class. We're learning about how the First Amendment has been defined and redefined by the Supreme Court (as the Framers purposefully left it vague) through the cases they've seen throughout the years. What exactly constitutes "free speech"? Who is "the press," and do they have different rights than the people? So many questions...I love it. It's also my first introduction to law in a formal classroom setting, and it's definitely going to help me decide if law school is something I'm going to be interested in or not. We'll see how I do, but based on the material I am totally engaged. It doesn't hurt that my professor, William B. Turner, practiced law for over forty years and took three (3!) cases to the U.S. Supreme Court. Can you tell why I'm intimidated?!
Lastly, I'm taking American Studies 101, on "The Atomic Age." Pretty self-explanatory, it's a class on the United States during the bombing of Japan and after, from the immediate effects to the Cold War, Civil Rights Movement, the 1970s, the Reagan era, and now. It seems fascinating, and the reading is all novels that are pertinent to the time period and the mentality of the American people at the time. Additionally, we have to watch movies (for homework!) including one of my all-time favorites, Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. I'm so excited!
Basically, I love ALL of my classes so far...when does that ever happen? I'm actually excited to do the work and the reading and the writing and even though I know I'm going to complain about it (that's just what I do, haha) I know that I'm really going to enjoy this semester as a whole.
Other than that, life has been pretty mellow. I'm enjoying going to work, seeing friends (especially new ones I made on the trip!), sleeping (I seriously have not gone to bed past 10:30pm, it's ridiculous how tired I feel) and catching up on TV. The weather has been RIDICULOUS (so rainy, windy, and cold!) and I'm not used to actually having to dress for the rain...I'm already sick of my rainboots. Oh well. Despite this, I have never been more in love with my life, and I'm so, so happy that this year, and this semester, are off to an amazing start. It's hard to believe that January is almost over, and that it'll be February (and the start of midterms and papers) before I know it. This semester is going to fly by, so I already need to start preparing for the summer...I know I'll be living in Berkeley, but I need to figure out if I want to take classes, get an internship, get a job, or take an LSAT class...ahh! Choices! Growing up! It's an odd feeling. I'm just enjoying life one day at a time, and it's a nice way to live, even if only for a bit before the craziness of being a student kicks in.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I'm in New York City right now, and I'll be headed back to Berkeley on Saturday! I'm excited. I'm going to the Met today, and hopefully a show if we can get tickets! To quote a new friend, I'm stoked on life and excited to see what this semester (and this year!) has in store.