Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I think of the "technology is ruining your ability to be social" lecture...

Ok I know I could get a lot of flak for this but I must admit something. I am SO sick of getting lectured by the older generations about how new technology is ruining our ability to have healthy social relationships!
It is the same lecture every time. I don't know if I could count how many times I have heard it. It usually starts with an older person talking about how they were walking down the hallway at a university and how they saw that everyone was either talking on their cellphone, texting or listening to their iPod. They then proceed to talk about how things didn't used to be that way and how people used to be able to look each other in the eye. Usually the speaker is being over dramatic and mentions their fear that we will loose all ability to associate with one another. If society does fall apart, it will be the younger generation's fault.
Each time I hear this lecture, I usually listen out of politeness. But what I really want to do is lecture them on a thing or two.
First of all, this older generation created the America we live in today. We have inherited this system of capitalism and consumerism where we are always after bigger, better, and faster. They were the generation that invented the computer, cellphone and portable music devices. We got Nintendos, walkman and cell phones for Christmas. You spent all this time and energy make these things, can you blame us for using them?
Many of these items of technology were invented to "save us time" when in all reality it has just heightened expectations as to how we use our time. We are arguably busier and busier and we are expected to be able to get it all done. So please forgive me for using technology that will "save me time".
Now that we are more pressed for time, we have less "me" time. When I say less "me" time, I mean time in which I get to do what I want to do. This entails maintaining friendships, listening to music I like and just relaxing. In response we have become very good at multi-tasking and filling up all of those little moments of our day that can be used other wise. We talk to our friends on the phone in the hallway. Heaven forbid I call one of my sisters that lives far away. I wouldn't want to be on my cell phone, it inhibits my ability to develop social skills. If trying to maintain and strengthen my already existing relationships doesn't do that, what does?
Some of you are probably saying "Rachel, technology has had some negative affects on our generation". I would agree, technology has ruined some lives but lets be honest, those who decide use any form of technology in an extreme is a little off anyway. The teenager that would rather text than call someone or actually talk to another person face to face is a innately awkward. If they weren't gaming online all day and night, then they would be off playing Dungeons and Dragons or reading some weird book. I am sad for these people, but I don't think we should let technology be the scapegoat for their lack of desire to deal with people.
I guess the point I would really want to make would be that we are just trying to cope with all of the expectations that are piled high and deep on our plate. So I would appreciate you getting off my back and giving me some credit. I am an average Joe. I use facebook, I have a blog, I text my friends to ask a quick question or let them know I was thinking about them, I listen to my iPod (for both music and podcasts). I know that this is hard to accept, but technology is here to stay. But don't worry, we are humans and we are intelligent enough to adapt to our new world. Life and society will continue to function. It will just be different.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What I was meant to do!

I must say I am really lucky, I really have found what I am meant to do! I LOVE ANTHROPOLOGY! I am in my last year of classes and I love every single one! I get really excited about all of my reading and homework. This is why I have spent my whole life in school, so that I could get to this point and study what I am passionate about.
I really think this all started when we moved to Guatemala when I was 14. I had grown up in white and conservative suburbia and then I was thrown into the third world. I will always lay claim that that experience as the one that has molded me to become who I am today.
Every since my time in Guatemala, I have become fascinated by travel and throwing myself into other cultures. I love to observe and just enjoy how other cultures view the world. They often have insights to the beauty that life here on this planet has to offer. Not that any of you care, but I just want to share some of my favorite anthropology moments. If you don't care, I understand and you have my full support in just looking at my pictures.
I think that by far, my favorite moment was when I was 17. It was my last April in Guatemala. At the time I was dating Jonny. He was half Guatemalan and half American. In Guatemala there is an extremely dominant presence of the catholic church, therefore Easter is a very important holiday. In fact they make a whole week of it. They call it 'semana santa' -holy week. Guatemala is known for the amazing processions and reenactments of the last week of Jesus Christs' life. Antigua Guatemala is especially well known for its alfombras that are made of saw dust.
For this last semana santa in Guatemala, Jonny and his mother took me to a small Guatemalan town named San Critobal for a few days. This is where Jonny's mother had grown up. Her sisters and cousins all lived there. San Cristobal was situated in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle. They had even had reports of jaguars killing off some of the livestock in the area. It really was a charming little town. The streets were all made of cobble stones. I remember walking around with Jonny the night before the processions. Everyone was preparing their own alfombra and the streets were lit by candles. We were pretty far removed from any large city, and so the stars and moon were clear that night. The air was calm and warm. The only word that I can think of that captures the atmosphere of that night was - charming. I would actually say the same of the whole weekend. I spent the week cooking, dancing and participating in their 'semana santa' traditions. It was something that I will never forget. Experiences like those, fueled my addiction and now I am trying to turn it into my career. This really is what I was meant to do!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The homework fairies are comming back into my life

I must say I am a nerd! I love this time of year. You are just ending a fun filled summer. It is still warm and you are satisfied. Then school starts. For some reason I think I am in the minority, but I absolutely love the first day of school! There is an exciting energy in the atmosphere. You have new classes, teachers and classmates. Life is presenting you with the same old routine that you have followed since you were 5 and yet there are new possibilities. Like any fresh start I always feel the hope that I can improve upon the person I was last semester. I usually fill myself of expectations on how I am going to be the best student in class. I tell myself that I will always stay on top of my homework and establish a great relationship with all of my professors. In the back of my mind I am also pumping myself up with the confidence that I am going to rock the social scene. Those moments are quite enjoyable. I have succeeded in convincing myself that all dreams will become a reality this semester. There are no foreseeable obstacles in my path to perfect happiness. So I head to my first day of class in my favorite outfit and listen to all of my teachers read their syllabus'. I try not to buy into their intimidating speeches about how demanding their class will be. Life is going to be a perfect balance of school, work and fun, no matter what my teachers say. My blissful honeymoon attitude lasts for a while, life is great and is going to get better. I go to class, learn and then I go home and have fun. This all comes to a screeching halt on the day of that first quiz or paper. Then I remember that I was supposed to be doing school out side of school. The little homework fairies... or should I say devils... start doing their little dance in my brain and slowly stamp out all of those hopeful expectations of a healthy, happy balanced semester. After they have completed their work of destruction, they bind me in chains and lead me to that cold library and up to the corner seat on the fourth floor.... to become a slave to my education.
I guess what I am saying is that I am excited for the first day of school this semester, but I am also excited that it will be my last full semester before graduating.