The Almighty Label

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As a society, we usually categorize people with labels based off of their:

sexuality, style, grades, and religion.

Having unknown thoughts about a topic, such as religion, doesn’t seem to be accepting. Although labeling can sometimes make things simpler and more organized, is it truly necessary? For example, on college applications, there is a section to select what religion you are associated with, but why do people’s beliefs have to have an official label?

It turns out that the “none” and the “non-denominational” check box are being selected more often now than ever before.

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“Religious ‘nones’ – a shorthand we use to refer to people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is “nothing in particular” – now make up roughly 23% of the U.S. adult population.” – Michael Lipka of Pew Research

Taking a closer approach to this topic, I spoke with Rev. Dr. Justin Allen to get his input about this section on college applications, SU’s to be specific. “Checking a denomination helps benefit the students so that we, as a University, can hopefully help connect them with other people of that religion or show them programs and clubs we offer that could interest them.”

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For confirmation, I took my questions to the Admissions Office and spoke with Carly Scranton, an admissions counselor, and she agreed with Justin Allen’s statement. “It definitely is on there for the connection between students but it is also asked for the demographics purpose and data collecting. Like ‘What percentage of students who have applied here are Jewish?’ and so on.”

 

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We focus so much on the classification that sometimes we lose the true meaning of that individual because they’ve been placed under a particular label. The “Labeling Theory” in the criminal justice system can even show a connection to this issue we’re facing. Once a person is seen under a certain light, it is difficult to shift that perception into a different perspective.

We judge, we shame, and we force our thoughts of religion to others instead of accepting their different outlook on the matter. Much like politics, religious views of an individual can often be out spoken and held to a extremely high standard.

In today’s society and our current generation, we are expected to hold ourselves to a certain standard. Applying for college is already stressful for prospective students, adding a question like, “What religion do you associate with (if any)?” can make the process more stressful and add more pressure.

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Whether a person stands with a particular denomination or has their own beliefs without a title, religion will always be opinion based; there is not right or wrong answer, just YOUR answer.

No label needed.

 

 

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80 Days, One Semester, Endless Possibilities

“The only real advice you can give anyone is to keep writing.”

-David Sedaris 

 

 

“Written by Jenna Wheeler”

We can all say that we have moments of inspiration, whether it is because of something we’ve done personally, or because of someone else. One of my moments occurred while we presented our work to the class for critiques of improvement. My classmate, Tyler, explained to me the importance of including my own voice and style into every piece I write. It is about the originality and confidence of the work that will make it ultimately successful. Instead, I was writing what I thought the professor wanted without adding the life and “picture” into it. That moment changed the way I look at my technique and skills. Hoping my writing gets published at some point in my lifetime, I want people to read “Written by Jenna Wheeler” under the headline and have an idea about how the final production is going to sound. It is a way of “seeing my name in lights.”

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Future Forecast

My professor, Dr. Kelley Crowley, is strict about everyone writing EVERYTHING down, because the writer takes huge step backwards if a thought is lost or forgotten. I used to think writing was done just for school or work because I had to do it; however, developing writing pieces is more than for the grade or the paycheck, it’s truly an art form. Writing first becomes new and fun then goes into a “want,” but quickly turns into a “need.”

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Below, I have detailed some of the most valuable knowledge that I have gained and am currently utilizing in class:

  • Taking notes
  • Creating a lead
  • Presentation of work
  • Professionalism of writing

This has made me realize that my writing technique is only at a blossoming mark. Continuing to expand my vocabulary and writing structure will be beneficial in whatever I end up doing in life, whether I become an artist or work for the government.

Writing goes along with how an individual types, talks, and acts in the real world. Involving all of those techniques and conducting professionalism that is associated with writing can present endless possibilities.

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The Path of Media Writing: Where It Took Me

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As college students, we all came here with a destination in mind. College is the time to discover what we like and dislike, change majors and declare minors, and ultimately graduate with a degree. But to reach nirvana, we must first follow the path there. Below is a list of the lessons I have learned from my Media Writing class, one of my favorite paths of college so far.

“Puke On The Page”

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After getting into Media Writing, I was eager to begin improving my writing skills and exploring my imagination. Dr. Kelley Crowley’s idea of that was strangely called “puke on the page.” And yes, I had same that grossed-out and confused look on my face like you probably do, too. But surprisingly enough, it has been the most beneficial lessons I have learned in that class, for my writing skills and with life’s stresses. It’s a process of writing nonstop to get all your thoughts down on paper. Heres why to try it:

 

  • It stops over thinking
  • Helps develop the flow of thoughts and ideas
  • Stress Reliever
  • Expresses ideas
  • Shows instant thoughts
  • Can be random yet fun
  • Used for personal or professional purposes

Having your own notebook

On the first day of class, Dr. Crowley instructed us to get our own notebook and bring it to every class for taking notes, and writing down thoughts and ideas. Especially for when we “puke on the page.” We were also told to design it in whatever way we wanted to express ourselves. So of course I decked mine out in guns, deer, sunflowers, and country stuff!

IMG_1855Why does this count as a lesson I feel is important?

  • Helps with remembering certain thoughts
  • It expresses who you are and what you love
  • Makes it more exciting than writing in a typical black and white composition book
  • You can look back on your ideas
  • Used as a recording method so nothing is lost or forgotten
  • It is fun!

Meeting Deadlines

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If the word “importance” could have have a subtitle attached to it, I would put “meeting deadlines,” because they are seriously that important. Whether it be work related or just running errands, meeting deadlines is crucial because it shows determination of getting a task done on time, which shows how you handle things (work and non-work related).

 

  • Shows organization and productivity
  • Enhances your skill set
  • Sets goals
  • Reduces stress if done correctly
  • Shows professionalism
  • Serves as respect

Interviewing Others

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Since the class is called “Media Writing,” one can assume it involves writing within the media. Such as news articles, sports pieces, and public relations. All of these must use interviews to contribute to fact checking and statistics. But even if media writing isn’t the field someone wishes to go into, developing interviewing skills is crucial in today’s world.

  • It conducts people skills, which are essential
  • Learn how to ask and expand on questions
  • Advance in note taking skills
  • Build relationships (extremely beneficial)
  • Observe visual communications (body language, expressions) while hearing verbal communications (tone, mood)

And finally…

Using and (Always) Carrying the AP Stylebook

Attending college is a way of showing you want to progress beyond the high school level education, so what better way of doing so than to know how to write like you actually know what you’re doing! The AP Stylebook is literally a lifesaver. If there is ever a moment of doubt on how to write correct grammar or punctation in the proper way, then it has your answer. There is some work involved, like knowing what to look under to discover the “moment of truth” and discover the solution, but it holds everything you’ll need to sound educated. And that can go tremendously far.

  • Learn proper writing skills
  • Get confirmation
  • Consume more knowledge
  • Convenience and Consistency
  • Makes an impression of who you are

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While continuing on to complete my college path, I will take the lessons learned in my Media Writing class and pass these techniques along.