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Don't Win The Argument, Win The Battle!

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            Everyone learns to argue at a young age. Children in preschool argue over toys and having to share "their" toys such as:


"I want that toy!"

"No it's mine. I had it first!"

"No I did!"


            However, as we grow up, arguments can become more heated. Arguments also do not always have an easy solution as in preschool. It's not always as simple as one child plays with a toy for an hour and then the other child gets the toy.


            One day I was reading Thank You For Arguing by Jay Heinrichs and came across an important passage.


"To win a deliberative argument, don't try to outscore your opponent.

Try instead to get you way." (19)


            This passage really stuck with me. I don't need to defeat my opponent completely by embarrassing him or her, so they finally concede. All I need to do is get them to give in to my beliefs by the end of the argument. Since the passage was in the second chapter of the book, I was able to apply it to my writing for the rest of the semester, especially the rebuttal paper.


The rebuttal paper was a challenging paper. I couldn't simply talk about why my opponent was wrong and how strongly I disagreed with her point of view. Instead, I had to respect her side, but still show why I thought it was wrong; in an appropriate and respectful way though. I couldn't simply write, you idiot, what are you thinking. No, I had to show my side to try to get my own way which is convincing my opponent to concede to my idea. As Heinrichs states, "People often win arguments on points, only to lose the battle" (19). The goal for my paper was to convince my opponent to act on my beliefs. I didn't want to win the argument for the sake of winning. I wanted to win the battle, to make my beliefs present in my high school for the benefit of the current students. With more knowledge of arguing, it is possible for anyone to get his or her way.


            The passage also made me ponder what exactly was a "deliberate argument." After looking the in Appendix II, I found that it is an "argument made about choices" (298). Many arguments are about choices; where to eat, what movie to watch, where to go on vacation. In my rebuttal paper, there were choices. There were choices of whether to keep a new school policy or to return to the old policy. I was arguing one of the choices while my opponent agued the other choice. It was a deliberate argument where I thought my choice was the proper choice. However, I needed to remember to win the battle and not the argument.


            There are many little helpful tidbits in Thank You For Arguing. It has helped me with my writing this year and made me a better arguer. Just remember, try to get your way, not score the most points.

That Can't Really Be True, Can It?

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            I have always used Dove soap. Why you may ask? Well that's just always what my mom had bought, and therefore, it was the only soap for me to use in my house. I didn't mind it. It kept me clean and smelled nice, so there was really nothing to complain about.


            The Dove commercials always made me skeptical. I thought that Dove was just trying to sell more soap by exaggerating the benefits of their product. However, I soon found that they really weren't. For once a commercial was telling the truth.


            Recently, I ran out of my Dove soap, so I went to CVS and bought some more. Unfortunately, they didn't have any Dove that day, so I had to buy another brand. Over the next few days, I felt this tightness on my skin; as if a residue was left on my skin even though I just took a shower. I soon figured it out. I wasn't using the soap I was use to. Could this really be possible? Could a commercial really be telling the truth?


            Personally, I can't wait until I can finally get my Dove soap back because I want my skin to feel like it normally does. Also, I'm now a little more willing to believe a commercial's products, within reason of course. So just a word of advice, have a little faith sometimes; and maybe even try Dove soap.

Inspirational Words From An Admirable Man

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            Walking into the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, I had no idea what to expect or see. I did not even know that there was such a memorial until I was told only a few hours earlier. Walking into the memorial, I noticed all the quotes inscribed along the wall. One truly stood out to me.


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1963


            Whether you relate this to the Civil Rights movement or everyday life, it is a passionate and inspiring quote. Standing up to face a challenge or controversy requires an enormous amount of devotion and determination. It takes a strong person to stand against the beliefs of others. Most people in society are unable to do this. Most people are conformers. We follow orders and the "expected" beliefs of society. Anyone can stand up for themselves, but it takes a truly passionate and confident person to actually stand strong and proud in front of opposers.


            Seeing this memorial and reading all the quotes brought the realization to me again that the Civil Rights movement occurred not long ago. Although so much change has occurred already, there is always room for improvement and growth. We need to stand together, as one country and one united force.

"Faith and Confidence"

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Pultizer Photo.jpg


            Little kids have a mind of their own. When they want to do something, they want to do it then no matter what. The little boy in the photo displays an innocent begging and pleading face. He is hoping the police officer will give in. All he wants to do is cross the street. There may be a parade going on, but why should that stop him?


            "Faith and Confidence" is the Pulitzer Prize winning photo for 1958 taken by William C. Beall. The little boys face warms your heart and makes you giggle. The expression on his face makes anyone want to give in. His face is filled with complete desire and yearning. The contrast of the big and powerful police officer is diminished slightly by his posture. He is still above the boy, but more at his level leaning forward. Looking at the boy straight in the eyes, the officer is conveying an authority position over the boy. The police officer will not give in no matter how charming the little boy may be.


            Every picture has its own personal story. After visiting the Pulitzer Prize photo winner's exhibit at the Newseum, it became apparent to me how much a photo can truly impact a person. Who knows what the photographer was truly feeling as he looked through his camera lens and snapped the picture. Looking at this picture, I feel a sense of joy to see a unique and precious interaction. Life continues on and we must always remember that. This little boy shows me that in his sincerity and innocence. This officer shows me that through his smile and approachable posture.


Just remember a picture can say a thousand words.


Discovering Parties for the First Time

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            Politics is not a big topic in my household. So therefore, for this election, I am totally confused on what political party believes what, and what are the different platforms for each candidate. Luckily, Dr. Pirrone gave me two articles published earlier this year in the New York Times that tries to simplify and lay down the ground work for the different beliefs.


            After reading the articles, I realized there are so many sectors in each political party, it is hard to imagine they can manage to accomplish anything. Some subgroups have similar beliefs, but then they also have such varying beliefs, it is hard to categorize them in the same party. The constant arguing is the factor that pushes me away from politics. If I wanted to watch people fighting constantly and talking over each other, I would just watch one of the many reality TV shows on the various programming channels.


            I have realized I truly am an independent. I tend to not lean more to one side than another at this point in my life. I think this is most likely due to the fact that politics is relatively new to me. I took AP Government my senior year, and that was opening a whole new book for me. I knew the general stuff about government, but none of the ideas of lobbyists, pork barrel legislation, etc. I have increased my knowledge drastically in the past year and a half, and I plan to continue.  

Presidential Debate

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            Still undecided for whom I plan on voting for, I watched the Presidential Debate to try to come even just a little closer to a decision. Unfortunately, I feel as if I am still where I started. Being a first time voter, this is all new to me. Politics was not a prevalent topic at family dinners in my household, so everything involved with voting and my opinion are unknown to me. I have no idea if I am Republican or Democrat, but so far I believe I fall somewhere in the middle. However, which side I lean more to is still a blur to me. However, I was hoping this debate would let me find out where the candidates stand on certain issues and what they plan for the future. Sadly, I was a bit mistaken.


            I did learn some valuable information about the candidates' beliefs. However, I was mostly distracted by the finger pointing and attacking done by each candidate. One candidate would say something about the other that was supposedly wrong or contradicted in early times. The constant bantering and yelling is distracting and not the true point of a debate. Debates use to be candidates on stage talking for hours and hours about their beliefs and what they plan to do for this country. There was nowhere to "hide" or simply reiterate the same fact over and over again. Candidates were required to think quickly and relate their message accurately. I'm not saying I would like to listen to hours of each candidate talking. But the current short time segments cause candidates to feel pressure to get in the last word, and therefore, cause a yelling match.


            All in all, I did learn different opinions and intended actions of each candidate that hopefully will bring me somewhat closer to deciding. Only time will tell. There is always the next debate too.  


Evaluation of College, Campuses At Least

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            When deciding on which university to go to, I did not go through the same processes that many other seniors go through. I did not have to decide which major university I wanted to go to because my mom's job had already decided that for me. She works for Penn State University, Harrisburg Campus., and therefore, I was going to Penn State University due to the large discount on tuition I received. However, there were other evaluations I made about what type of college experience I wanted.


            Penn State Harrisburg is close to home, but for me, it's way too close to home. I wanted my independence now. After living with the same three people for 18 years, I needed my space and wanted it. I love my family, but we need to be separated right now in my life. . However, in contrast I didn't want to be across the state where I could only come home on major holidays. Therefore, I narrowed down my choices to University Park and Altoona campus.


            Another major decision I had to make was whether I wanted to go to a large, "city-like" branch or a small, "homey" branch. I personally live in a fairly small town at home. It takes me 20-30 minutes to get anywhere actually significant with stores, businesses, gas stations, or schools. Therefore, I tended to lean towards University Park because no matter what if I walked outside my building I could get almost anything I wanted by walking. It still might take me 10 minutes, but I wouldn't feel like I was in the middle of nowhere. There was a "large area" feel that I had always wanted to be a part of, but hadn't been yet.


            I also had to decide and evaluate if I wanted a more personal experience with my teachers or just become a number in a class. I came from a relatively small high school where all the teachers knew all their students names. Also, some teachers taught classes in multiple grade levels, so there was the possibility that you could have the same teacher multiple years in a row. Although just being a number isn't the most ideal option, I realized that if I wanted to I could meet with my teachers and still have a semi-personal relationship with them. I decided that having big classes would be an adjustment but not a decision breaker for me.


            When deciding on a campus, I also had to decide if it was important that I stay at the same campus or participate in the two plus two program offered at branch campuses. Adjusting to a campus and college life would be a big adjustment. I had to decide if I wanted to do that twice or just once.


            These are distinct decisions I needed to deliberate and come to a conclusion. However, all these participating factors collided with one another. If I went to Altoona, I would have smaller classes and maybe get to know my teachers well. However, at Altoona, I would be, what I thought, was the middle of nowhere where I would have to take buses to get anywhere. It also reminded me so much of the Harrisburg campus where I had been visiting every since I was born. If I chose University Park, I would be in a hustling, bustling "city" of its own where there are so many activities to participate in, but I may get lost in the crowd. I may also have a harder time adjusting, since the atmosphere is drastically different. This was obviously one of my parents' top concerns.


            Either way, there are many factors and evaluations that need to be made before deciding on a college. Whether it is which college you will actually go to, or instead, in my case, which campus would I attend. Obviously, I chose University Park, and so far, I am very happy with my decision. 

Vice Presidential Debate: Joe Biden and Paul Ryan

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            Honestly, this was the first time I watched a presidential or a vice presidential debate. Therefore, I had no preconceived notions or opinions on how this hour and a half long broadcast would go. I did listen to what each candidate said and agreed and disagreed with both on one issue or another. However, what I found troubling was the various reactions and the constant need to interrupt the other candidate.


            Vice president, Joe Biden, continually referred to Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney as "my friend;" "my friend believes this" or "my friend said this."  However, immediately after, Biden would make a rude comment. Now I am not saying they should agree on everything. There would be no political parties or opposing opinions then. However, I listen to my friends opinions and give them the benefit of the doubt to say what they would like to say. By saying "my friend," it appeared as if Biden was trying to show sympathy or a connection to Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney, but then he would immediately disagree.  It was frustrating to me because friends show each other respect, and there were many times Biden as well as Ryan did not show respect to one another.


            Each candidate constantly interrupted one another throughout the debate. As a first time watcher, I was trying to hear each candidate's opinions and beliefs on the multiple issues that face our country. However, with the constant interrupting and hostile responses, I could barely keep track of who was saying what. It was almost as if I was watching reality TV where people are just constantly trying to get their word in. I just wish the candidates would be courteous to each other and let one another speak when it is their turn.


            While watching the vice presidential debates tonight gave me an insight on some of the beliefs of the Democratic and Republican platforms, I was more confused after. I was unable to focus do to the reactions of Biden as well as the constant interrupting from each candidate.

"Letter from a Birmingham Jail": Extremists for Love

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"So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremist will we be."


            Passion is a wonderful characteristic to possess. It can fuel the fire inside you to accomplish anything and everything you look to achieve. Extremists have passion and fire within themselves that allows them to work towards their goals of the future.


            Extremists have a negative connotation with their name. Most people think of terrorists or hate groups as the only extremists. But as Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, "Will we be extremists for hate or for love?"


            The definition of an extremist is one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm. To advocate love is more challenging than to advocate hate. Hatred is an easier emotion to possess. It is not difficult to hate someone; to find flaws or issues in someone and to hate them for it. We do it all the time and rarely realize that we are doing it. However, love is a more difficult emotion to obtain and keep throughout struggle.


            Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for extremists of love. The nonviolent demonstrations he led or organized were out of love; to show how it is to love. He led these demonstrations so that one day everyone will be loved equally, no matter the color of his or her skin. King chose to take the more dangerous and challenging path of love, instead of the easy, straightforward path of hate. He showed the world through his actions what the Civil Rights movement meant to him; that everyone would advocate love and join the eternal brotherhood that many refused to see or join.


             So though there may be struggles and difficulties in your life, in the end love conquers all.  

What's At Stake?: Rational Ignorance

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Sitting in the second row of Heritage Hall, I waited patiently for the program What's At Stake? to start. The next hour program was trying to convince or influence the youth of today especially at Penn State to vote. There were three speakers Jay Paterno, Coquese Washington, and David Brinker who filled in for John Gastil.

Jay Paterno spoke first and explained how many people have fought, suffered, and even perished to be able to have the liberty I have every day. There is death and destruction around the world now as people fight for the right to vote. I may not be the first to acknowledge this, but I do take my liberties, freedoms, and rights for granted sometimes. But I am thankful for everyone who gave their life to protect this great country I and many others live in.

Coquese Washington spoke next and told the story of her father's childhood. As an African American man, he had multiple challenges in his life living in the South. She then ended with telling us to vote to make her father proud.

Both Jay Paterno and Coquese Washington provoked ideas and thoughts in my head. However, when David Brinker made the comment "rational ignorance," I was intrigued immediately. He then explained the term described the part of the population that believed they did not have an impact or effect on the election. It seems that at every election this idea is tossed around constantly leading up to Election Day. Adults are constantly trying to get the youth of the nation to take action and vote. As I grew up, I heard the numerous pleas for more voter participation. However, now that I am of the age to vote, I can see why so many young adults do not make the effort to vote. There is the distraction of school, work, and social commitments. Plus, if they are already registered, it is annoying to reregister or get an absentee ballot. There are just so many things running through our heads constantly. For some of us, including myself, this is the first time we are living on our own. So much is new and different; I do not need another thing added to my life that is uncharted territory.

However, after hearing three influential people speak as well as influence from my teachers, I see the true purpose of voting. It is the ability to have a say in your government your future. Many people may think well duh why hasn't that occurred to you before? But some of us just need it to be repeated a couple thousand times until it sinks in. I do not want to be part of the rational ignorant that sit back and let others decide the future for them. Even if I regret my decision in the future, at least I made a decision at the time. Politics and government were never a prominent topic in my household. My parents voted and continue to vote though. They made their voice heard, and now I will too.


Together As Separates

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Rent Cast Line Up.jpg

SublimeCDS December 24, 2005


              After studying Broadway shows in my seventh grade music class, I had wanted to see the Broadway show Rent. However, the show was taken off Broadway. Luckily, a motion picture of Rent was made in 2005. I was so excited and begged my parents to buy it for me. I had already known the whole story line and googled pictures and videos for days before. So now all I needed was the movie.

                The movie began and the opening scene was playing out right in front of my eyes. This very scene was the scene I was looking forward to the most. All the principal cast members were on stage in a line with a single spot light on each one. The song "Seasons of Love" began to play, and my heart felt like it stopped. Here were eight individual people all connected to each other in some way, through friendship, love, music and dance, or a common disease. They were each other's rocks and support system when comfort or help was needed. Through the fights, arguments, and even deaths, these separate people came together as one to help each other in his or her time of need.

                Each spotlight represents the character's own persanl struggles. A glance into each person's personal story as a single item. There is no where to hide when your life is lite up for the world to see. The character's thoughts, feelings, and hardships are shown fully as the single spotlight is placed on him or her. Yet the line stringing across the stage as the character's are standing together, shows the unity of a family. A family that went through many tough times, break ups, relationships, and loss. Still, each separate individual remained connected to each other and the family they became. 

                There are five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes in a year. The cast asks, "How do you measure, measure a year?" They chose to measrure a year in love. They love their family, each other, and themselves as they continue on their journies, together as separates.

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