Writing Truth

An English teacher once taught me that if I ever wanted to be a writer and be read, I must be able to expose myself and write with my emotions. Only that way will the audience truly know that what I write is truth. It took me a while to comprehend this. For a long time I had thought I was writing truth. Until now.

As I was in the backseat of my mom’s minivan, coming back from the mall, I had an idea. I decided to refocus my blog. At first, it was a blog for my Journalism class. I wrote about issues in the school and its effect on the students. I wrote news. And although I wrote with enjoyment, I wrote the requirement. And now that it is no longer the case, I’d love to talk about my passion.

The name of my refocused blog will be Seeking God in a sinful world. The focus of this new rewritten blog will center on finding God in challenges throughout our lives. Most of these problems will be issues that we as human beings face. Let it be a breakup, peer pressure, family issues, or anything. If you guys have any suggestions, I’d love for you guys to comment and I will try my best to write a blog that will help you in the time of need.

If I am being completely honest, I am scared to be presenting this new idea. It will be the first time that I am publicly expressing my faith and love for God. I’m afraid of the critics that I will gain and of the friends and followers that I may lose. But knowing that I have people supporting me in this decision and teaching me to be in close relations with God is enough for my finger to press “publish”.

I am very excited to be sharing this with you because it will not only benefit me in finding God’s beauty in this world full of hate, sorrow and sin, but I hope that this blog will benefit others in finding a sparkle of hope or a flicker of light in the darkest of times.

This is the beginning to my new adventure.

Saying goodbye to high school and hello to college

Let me start of by saying, everyone in the face of the Earth lied to me! They told me that senior year would be the easiest year and yet, I seem to be struggling the most out of every year in my high school career. Perhaps its the two math classes that I take, or the AP classes that I manage, maybe even balancing the extra curricular activities. Although these are decisions that I committed to, I do not seem at all to worried about them. The white strands of stress hair growing in my head have to do with something way beyond my high school capabilities. Yes, you guessed it, college.

College. Of course, college. Its a commitment of four years! Unless you attend a two year community college or decide to transfer due to school debt. College is where I discover where I am in life, who I am suppose to be in life, who I am suppose to marry and spend the rest of my life with….Perhaps I have watched several teen movies. But college still is an important decision.

College, for seniors in high school does not seem to far. In less than five months, we will disperse into different worlds. This time may even be shortened for the people that need to move to their schools right after graduation. Seniors, what is there left to do once we are done here. Is there anything that us seniors can leave behind and call ours? Will we come back to the same world we leave behind or what do we plan to come home to?

Our future lies only a few short steps away and I want to make mine last. That’s when I decided to begin a list of things that I wanted to do after graduation and before college begins.

Go to the botanical garden

Host a barbecue party

Buy lottery tickets

Build a sand city at the beach

Ride a bike down Lake Shore Dr and watch the sun rise

Watch a movie at the Imax theaters in Navy Pier

Have an ice cream sundae downtown during the fireworks on the 4th of July

Go to Sky High trampoline warehouse.
Now, when you look at this, you think this is kind of boring. There are several things one can do during the summer in the great city of Chicago, but hey, we have to start small to make it big. I’m excited for the next month. They will be in preparation to the adventure I will have this summer. And once I have completed everything I have on the TO DO list I can finally say goodbye to high school and say hello to Dominican University Class of 2018.

Finding a religious community where I belong

My family is catholic. When I was younger, I remember dressing up each Sunday in preparation for mass. Once I grew old enough, I started attending CCD, or Sunday church school as I described it. When I reached middle school until the beginning of my high school career, I became one of the first girl alter servers in the church. By my actions, I always appeared to be concrete in my religious faith. But I did not feel as certain in my faith as other people thought I was.

As a kid, I could not remember much about what the priest said. Mass, for me, was a time where I can catch a nap. When I began CCD, it was just another class that I needed to exceed in. And when I became an alter server, I could only think about the service hours I would earn.  It wasn’t until I began to attend high school and stopped serving during mass that I understood the importance of religion.

By the end of my freshmen year in high school, I became a part of YoungLife, a non Christian youth group lead by Christians. They taught me the importance of being loved by a greater being despite the wrong paths that I walked on. Once I became a member of YoungLife, I was no longer satisfied with Catholicism. I sought more beyond what my catholic church had to offer. There is nothing wrong with being catholic, but as I progressed through high school, my interests became different. I wanted a place that did not judge me for my wrong doing.

I became eager to join a bigger community that felt the same as I. I attended the church that hosted YoungLife’s bible study. I attended a baptist church near north side. I attended another church near south side. Then finally I attended a church, that I did not now existed, ten minutes away from my house, and I felt at home.

That sense of belonging is so difficult to find. Mostly walking into the church feeling as an outsider, feeling alone. Sitting down, I tried to busy myself on my phone. But within minutes, people poured into the church and welcomed me greatly. I shook hands with what seemed like many and conversed with them until the beginning of service. As the service went on, I had quickly felt in community with them.

After what seemed like a long time searching, I had found the place that I had dreamed about. Building relationships with people that I would become friends with. Finding a religious community where I belong.

Not an only child

I really don’t know how some people have the impression that I am an only child. Perhaps I don’t talk about my family enough. Or perhaps I assume that people know I have a big family.

I am the second out of five children. I have an older sister, that to my personal opinion, can be too much to handle. A sister, a best friend, a year younger than I am now. A brother that has begun his adolescence era. And another sister that, at the age of 10, has discovered that laziness is hard to fight against.

In the featured picture, you can see my siblings. We stand in the order of how we were born, the oldest being on the left. I’m second standing and from the looks of the picture, I am annoyed. When we bought these shirts I never envisioned us actually wearing them together much less in a public area. We were in an airport picking some of my cousins up and my parents thought it would be great to greet them with our one big happy family. Embarrassed, I unzipped my sweater to reveal a shirt with the BIG BOLD words “Thing 2” across the front. We posed and my parents took the picture.

I must admit that for some time I had wished I was the only child. I saw them lucky, imagining a world where I would be spoiled to death with toys, games, love and everything. Not saying that I don’t receive anything now but I always envisioned a much more personal connection to everyone around me if I were an only child.

In my room, doing nothing, I imagine this very intimate world of me, myself and I. But then my youngest sister comes in, with the Ipad streaming Good Luck Charlie followed by my sister, a year younger than me, looking through my closet in search of a good outfit.

That is usually the moment when I stop and think, do I really want to be alone in a big home while my parents work? And even if they were home, would it be the same playing with them than people my age?

I am happy I am not an only child. I’m happy that I have siblings, that I have someone to fight with, to argue with and at the end of the day, that I have someone to love with. See because the best thing about being a sister to all my siblings, is that they will always be there for me as I will be there for them. That’s what being siblings are all about. When we can tell each other secrets, promising to each other that we won’t tell our parents that we got a boyfriend or got a tattoo, (my older sister is legal). We would be there for each other when one of us has a bully in school or is struggling with math.

Of course, I will always find a reason to dislike my siblings every day, just like that day at the airport. But there are days such as today that make me happy to live in a loud and crowded home. Wherever they live or are, will be my home.

A glimpse of the real world experience

The excitement of high school has begun so long ago. Stepping into my high school the first day of my senior year, I was ready for it to be the last. I have gotten most of my required classes out of the way and been accepted to all the colleges on my list. I was ready to leave my mommy’s nest and fly. My parents of course thought I was far from that.

A few weeks ago, as my family and I had our dinner, I talked to them about Prom. As I was focusing on the material things such as the dress, the shoes, the hair and of course the date, my parents were thinking only of the money. The only thing that they bothered to ask about was the price of the ticket. Shying away from the question, I swallowed another bite of the taco on my plate. But my parents wouldn’t have it. They persisted and I gave in. I admitted to them the cost of one ticket alone and they were FLABBERGASTED. That conversation quickly turned from a jolly conversation to a sour lecture. My parents wanted me to get what is so hard to do in this economy, what many people are struggling to do, they wanted me to get a JOB.

This economy has been in a recession for how long? I thought if adults were being laid off, what were the chances of me, a senior just about to graduate from high school, getting a job.

Now, just to be upfront about it, I did not, or have not yet landed a job. That, of course, would be a miracle. But I was able to take time and prepare for one. For a few weeks I searched and searched for a part time job that wouldn’t interfere with my academic life. (Because although I was in desperate need for a job, my education is always a priority.)

When I finally found a door that could lead to many opportunities, I realized, yet again, how unprepared I was. Of course, in my English class, I had sketched up what my resume would look like, it was still not something that I wanted to present to the company that I was applying to.

And this is some of what I learned,

Depending on the job that you are applying to, you are expected to turn in a resume that would “wow” the person that is hiring you. For me, my teacher suggested that I go with a resume that had my name in BOLD BLACK CAPITAL LETTERS across the top of the page so that they can distinguish me among other resumes from the pile.

What seemed to work the best as well, is to investigate the job that you are applying to and SUBTLY include that to your own resume. If you are applying to a job as a receptionist, it would be nice to see that there are specific skills listed on your resume that are in that field. If you have fast typing skills, write that. If you have at least minimal knowledge of the functions of a computer, write that. If you are a very talkative or very communicative person, write that. There are simple skills that we may not realize we possess but can genuinely be the difference between you and the next person on the list.

On interview day,

Whether or not the office tells you, there is a dress code to any job that you are applying to. As I looked it up, there were three categories, business casual, business professional, and fashion designer. First impressions are everything and you want to make sure that you get that just right. After that, all you have to do is talk about yourself and the strengths that you can bring to support the company or wherever it is you are applying to.

During the interview,

Don’t be scared. I know I was, walking into the office not knowing what exactly to expect. It will not be your fault if one of the workers or even the person that is hiring you has a bad day. You cannot take it personally. The best thing to do is smile and listen to everything that the person is trying to tell you.

At the end of the interview, it is always good to ask a few questions to the person that is hiring you to let them know that you are invested and interested in becoming a part of their community within the workplace. NEVER ask about salary or of getting a raise but ask about the job that you may be placed in or any questions at all pertaining to the company.

And finally, after the interview, it is always nice to make sure that they have everything that they need to call you back if they want you for the position. Make sure they have a copy of your resume or give them a new copy with revisions already fixed and a reference page to anyone that would be willing to say good stuff about you. (Don’t let it be your family.)

Having an insight to reality, is difficult to wrap your head around. Looking for a job or applying for whatever it is needs time and focus from the applicant to make it the best that they can. It will be difficult to transition from being taught to applying those skills in the real world. But an advantage to me, I have four more years of education before the real work begins.

CTA not so fast

Coming home from school, I took the brown line and transferred over to the Orange Line. It was an uneventful day to be honest, until of course the orange line train toward Midway stopped on Halsted train station and refused to shut its doors and move. The train conductor got on the intercom and announced that the train had experienced technical difficulties and all passengers had to get off. After making sure that every passenger was off, the conductor got on the train and left, with several people standing on the platform waiting impatiently in the cold for the next train.

Traveling an hour is something that I do every single day. Most of the time though, the train that I travel on stops momentarily and continues to travel at its average speed of 55 mph, according to a topic on ChicagoBus.org. But as I stood in the platform waiting for the next train I just couldn’t help but think what it would be like to get home in less than an hour.

China, since 2007, has implemented the new electromagnetic (maglev) trains. And when looking at the perks of the maglev trains, it seems it is exactly what Chicago needs!

The maglev train carts hover about 0.4 to about 4 inches above the ground. No friction!

Because the maglev trains are not in contact with the ground, there is no fossil fuel used thus much more power efficient and eco friendly than any others.

And because the only noise coming from the maglev trains is displaced air, the trains are less noisy than that of commuter trains.

This is all due to a combination of magnetic attraction and magnetic repulsion.

Despite this unusual train’s design, I wondered, why on Earth, does Chicago not have this? The maglev trains travel twice as much as the fastest Amtrak’s commuter train. It goes up to around 310 mph! I would never have to complain about transportation ever again if Chicago had the maglev trains.

But of course, this is not something that the Chicago Transit Authority is interested in doing. Or at least not now. But they should at least consider the fact that Chicago transportation needs a “face lift”. Chicago, one of the first places to introduce commuter trains for passengers, has now lacked the ability to upgrade its technology to what the world is already used too seeing.

And while this change, this technology, is at the back of every commuter’s head, I will find things to do in the hour long ride from my school to my house.

Females = Males, not <

Malala Yousafzai. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the iron lady. Angela Merkel. These women are just a few of many other women that have made an impact in the world that we live in.

But of course, the question is asked, are they taken serious in their position because of their gender?

In today’s society, women seem to be downgraded just because of their gender. Media is the most powerful communication and yet the media portrays women in a poor manner. All that society does is criticize women.

Women don’t seem to be skinny ENOUGH. The only thing that society seems to identify them is by calling women emotional, fat, and hysterical. They are degraded so low that women are considered ‘doormats’.

Women are not defined by man’s standards. Women should not be defined by beauty and by their body. It has come to the point in the society where women resort to make up and dieting to keep the media’s and men’s attention.

Less clothes seems to be what the audience wants. Miley Cyrus is just one recent celebrity of many that have stooped to the level of the media. Cyrus has exposed her bare body to the world of media in hopes of capturing the attention of others.

Music videos in today’s society continuously portray women as sex objects. They are not taken as human beings.

With this message being streamed through the media, how are young girls going to act? Men do not seem to notice the brain that the women possesses but the body in which they have.

Girls are now being born into a world where they have no gender equality. They grow up to become insecure and pressured to look and act a certain way.

With all of these viewpoints on gender equality in today’s society, how can people have the courage to stand up for women?

In filibustercartoons.com, there is an article  called, “Female World Leaders Currently in Power” where it published a map of the world and its female leaders.

The light pink are places in the world with acting female leaders and in the dark pink areas are full term female leaders of state or government.

As the map clearly shows, the U.S has had no women in much power of the country. This gets people wondering, when will the U.S change its views on gender equality.

In 2011, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s film, Miss Representation, was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film featured several people talking about the challenges that limit women in the media on a daily basis.

There is also a movement named The Representation Project that uses film and media content to expose the injustice between the genders. This movement tries to bring self-awareness to the ugly truth of gender injustice that the world faces.

Although there is a movement to bring gender equality and films to bring awareness, there are but few women that have become people to role model after. This is the time where women need to step up and show themselves for what they are worth.

But when will society call it enough?

What happened to the time where leaving stuff to the imagination was the norm?

When will women be taken seriously?

When will it be time when women become recognized as an equal of men?