1) Response to Jackson’s post “Spring Break”

Spring Break is an unusual week before Easter where college students indulge in anything and everything they want to do, such as binge drinking and as many drugs as physically possible. For me I thought crazy spring breaks were things that only happened in movies and television shows, I never thought that I would ever experience something like that, I mean, I still haven’t (this year for Spring Break I spent the week at Kendall’s house in Los Angeles). Though I always saw Spring Break as a week of extremely unhealthy behavior that hopefully doesn’t persist throughout the year, I never looked at it from Jackson’s perspective. Jackson argues that not only does Spring Break take a tremendous toll on the body; it also can be a missed opportunity to experience another culture. This year a numerous amount of Colgate students spent a substantial amount of money to party in Punta Cana within walls of a resort. Dominican Republic is a country with a rich history and culture (I may be biased as a Dominican-American), and a majority of students probably did not take the time to experience any of it. I agree with Jackson that students deserve the break during the spring from schoolwork and responsibilities, but the students should also take the time to experience and learn from their surroundings.

2) Response to Kendall’s post “Looking Back on the Course”

Before this course I had no idea what challenges of modernity meant. I figured it had to be about current events, or within the twenty-first century because this is the most modern era. I found it’s more about the obstacles human civilization faces on the path to advancement in any era. The texts about race and racism also produced the greatest insight for me because I never discussed those topics before coming to Colgate. I am from a small town in northern New Jersey where almost everyone knows everyone so racism was not really a problem (I mean is not a very diverse town either). Coming to Colgate I found that my experience as a person of color in America is very different than others. Kendall mentions the quote from Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk, specifically “Of the Passing of the First-Born” about how children of color are born within the Veil. I knew I was raised differently than my white peers, however I never fully understood why (I mostly thought it was because my family was weird). Reading Du Bois and learning about the Veil has given me a new outlook on my future as a woman of color in America.

3) Response to Carson’s post “Are you happy? Why or why not?”

When Professor Briley asked this question my instinct was to say, “Yes, I am happy,” however I could not really explain why. I started thinking about all the things that I did not have and began questioning my happiness. I do not really have anything I am passionate about besides excelling in school at this point; I am a student. My life is far from perfect, but I am happy, why? Carson is right, it is a lot easier to complain. After thinking about it a little bit more I realized it was the simple things that truly made me happy. My family and my faith are what keep me grounded. No matter how much I may screw up, or things do not go my way I always have them to fall back on. They will never leave me, nor forsake me. On the surface it does not seem like much, but it is everything to me. Without the support of my family I would not be as confident as I am today. Next in line are my friends. Being at Colgate away from my family, I found great friends to count on. I know that they will support me and they are always there for me no matter what. Though we have only known each other since August, we have become each other’s second family away from home. It’s as simple as that; people make me happy.

4) Response to Nali’s post “Plugged In…”

I totally agree with Nali that in this day and age people spend way too much time on their phones, computers, and tablets, myself included. Every free second I have walking to classes or in between conversations the first thing I do is check my email or scroll through Instagram, especially when I want to avoid talking to people. It has become almost second nature to me to check my notifications continuously throughout the day. In high school my English teacher senior year, Mr. Kiely, challenged the class the download an application for our phones that tracked how long we spent on our phones each day. Within the six hour school day technically we are not allowed to use our phones at all, however I somehow managed to spend on average three hours on my phone each day; shockingly this was not even the highest amount of time spent on a phone in the class. After graduation I had to delete the application off my phone because it made me feel bad about how much time I spent using my phone each day. Since coming to Colgate I have tried to limit my phone use and I can confidently say that I have had minimal success; each day is a new challenge. Hopefully one day I will not be so attached to my phone.

5) Response to Sam’s “Rachel Carson’s Silent Sprint”

I agree that as humans we are taught that we are separate from the environment, better than the grass, the trees, and the insects. Because we see ourselves as superior to the environment, humanity believes it have the right to control and manipulate nature. This is an idea that is ingrained in society and cannot be easily changed. We are reliant on the environment for our survival, thus we need to nurture and care for it. Carson argues that human globalization has unintended effects on the environment because we are only focused on the immediate benefits and not the effects on future generations. I disagree that the use of DDT is due to human arrogance. The Dark Mountain Project Manifesto states that human obstructions, such as DDT, are due to “our lack of understanding of the world we inhabit” (Kingsnorth); our world and our environment are not eternal or invincible against human destruction. Carson challenged the idea that human technological advancement always leads to ‘progress’. Advancement does not ensure the safety of humans, society, or the environment. The discovery of DDT to combat Dutch Elm Disease seemed like a breakthrough for pest control, however the scientists did not study the effects DDT would have on humans.

6) Response to One thought on “It’s OK Not To Be OK.”

I agree with Sarah’s critique on Chris Kyle in American Sniper because though he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress disorder, he did not want to leave combat. This is very similar to Madison Holleran because though she was aware of her suffering, she hid it from her friends and family in order to continue on with her life. Both were highly praised individuals: Chris Kyle for being the most lethal sniper in the U.S. military and Madison Holleran for her athletic talent. She suffered from depression because she believed that she was not living up to her full potential socially, academically, or athletically. She continuously compared her life to those around her, causing her to feel inferior to her peers. If they could be Division I athletes and excel at an Ivy League university, then she should be able to as well (she attended the University of Pennsylvania). Chris Kyle and Madison Holleran differ from Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway because Septimus did not try to conceal his mental illness, however those around him did. Though mental illness is more widely accepted today than during Virginia Woolf’s time, it is still viewed as a sign of weakness. I believe because of the negative connotations of mental illness, many refuse to acknowledge their symptoms as legitimate.

7) Response to Sadie’s post “Black Parenting: Ta-Nehisi Coates and Maya Angelou”

At first glance I was confused by the title of this post. Why should black parenting be any different than white parenting? After reading the article I completely agree with both Coates and Angelou, society has different expectations for children of color than they do for white children. It all comes back to the Veil that Dubois talks about throughout The Souls of Black Folk. Not only is black parenting fundamentally different that white parenting; black parenting is different depending on whether one is raising boys or girls. Young, black boys are seen as an inherent danger in society, thus need to be raised to always be on guard; Coates talks about the need to always be on guard the protect the body from the violence and rules to supposedly protect it, (Coates 90). Growing up in a Hispanic family, my mother always said, “don’t be a statistic,” because that is what her mother told her before me. She meant as a black Latina society expects me to fail. Society does not necessarily expect me to be at Colgate. Even in high school the teachers did not expect me to be excel in math and tried to place me in a low level class; I had to double up on math course sophomore year to be placed in the class I deserved. I am very fortunate and blessed to have parents that would not let me yield to society’s expectations, but some children of color are not as fortunate as I am.

8) Response to Nali’s post “Higher Education”

I agree that today higher education is seen as a social norm. The question as I was growing up, was not, “Do I want to go to college?” however, “Which college am I going to?” College is seen a step to adulthood and if you have the means to go, than you will. Why did I go to college? My parents and society expected me to attend. Dubois petitioned for a classical education for African Americans during the early 20th century; contradicting Booker T. Washington’s call for vocational training. Dubois believed that African Americans should not limit themselves to an industrial education to become manual moneymakers, when they have the capacity to think for themselves. During the 20th century African American needed a classical education learn how to properly govern and to teach their society at a time where very few were educated.

A classical education creates philosophical men and thinkers. Today a liberal arts education prioritizes teaching students how to think, not necessarily sharpening their skills towards a single profession. I do not believe that everyone needs to have a higher education in this country. There is no such thing as a right or wrong career path to follow. Any profession that challenges one to work hard to succeed is an honorable career path. Though not everyone needs to go to college, I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to think for themselves in order to formulate opinions on the world.