I play for the Georgetown Softball team and this year we were unable to have a season, so all the underclassmen for Georgetown set up a senior night for our senior players and everyone gave a speech. I felt little stress when making this speech because I find it very easy to tell someone how proud and happy I am of them. I love being able to verbally express my appreciation for people because I often feel I do not do it enough. Within this speech, I listed memories and some motivational quotes for the seniors as they move out into the “real” world. This speech had to be professional, but also conversational. After reading it to the seniors, I had successfully completed the task of writing a touching speech.
For the past seven years, a few of my best friends and I all go to Sandusky, Ohio for five days. However, it has become increasingly difficult to figure out a date that works for everyone. This year, the only date that works is when my Dad is not there. So, I had to persuade my dad to let us stay up there alone. Within this text, I listed reasons why I can be trusted to go through this trip alone. I had to build up my ethos and remind my dad that I have traveled alone across the world as well as out of the country. I realized when writing this text the trip was at stake so I first wrote it in my notes app to make sure it was perfect. After sending this text, my dad was open to having a discussion about the trip, so the text somewhat accomplished its goal.
While in Tampa for this school year, I had the opportunity to coach my high school softball team. I already had many close bonds with some of the girls on the team, however this additional year has made them some of my best friends. Specifically, I have become very close with the seven seniors graduating this year. I am writing graduation cards for all of them, and they are very similar to the letter I wrote to my brother on his Kairos. Within these letters, I am giving the girls some advice I have learned in college, and emphasizing how proud I am of them. I feel little pressure when writing these cards because I am writing it in a conversational format. I do not expect any response or feedback from these letters, but I hope they take my advice and realize all their accomplishments that it took for them to graduate. While writing these letters, I was sad because I am going to miss coaching these girls so much, but I am happy because I know they are all so excited to go to college.
I began this essay three days prior to its due date. I worked on it at my favorite coffee shop, DI Coffee, which is where I am most productive. After every two hours, I would take a break from this essay and work on something else. I discovered that I really enjoyed working on this essay because I did not cram myself and procrastinate until the last minute. I found that I was digging deeper into the topic, and learned a lot more because I was enjoying writing. This essay required a formal tone with proper writing conventions and MLA formatting. I do not mind this structuring because it is very organized and neat. This is the first of my two exam grades for the class, so it is worth 30% of my grade. While this is very stressful, I am happy that I learned a lot about the Bible, specifically 1 Samuel 17, along the way. This essay is for my professor to demonstrate a deep analysis of a Bible passage of our choice. I chose 1 Samuel 17 because it is one of the first written stories including an underdog narrative. I am hoping to receive a good grade on this essay, and if not, I hope that I can make the corrections to my next essay.
My brother, Macklin, is my best friend, so when I sat down to write his Kiaros letter, I wanted to make sure it was perfect. Kairos is a religious retreat that all juniors at Jesuit High School in Tampa are required to attend. During this retreat, each of them receive personal letters from close family and friends. I began working on this letter a few days before it was due, and I knew to keep it short as my brother is not a big reader. However, keeping it short made it difficult to ensure I said everything I wanted to say. This letter aimed to let Maklin know that I am beyond proud of him and that he should be proud of himself for the person he has grown to be. While I wanted this essay to be personal, I wrote it in a conversational format. While I was not expecting a response from Macklin, when he came home from the retreat, he gave me a hug and said “Thank you.” Then I knew, that one, he actually read my letter, and two, I succeeded in writing this letter.
I began writing my journal on Ash Wednesday this year. I did this as my Lenten Promise to prioritize my mental health and keep myself in check. I would work on this at night and evaluate my day to see what I can do to improve my mental health. This is a very casual form of writing, and occasionally includes one quote with some drawings. There is little at stake during these writings because they are only for me to use them as a mental checkpoint. I would try to center myself before making an entry as I would do before praying. Keeping this journal was difficult, and there were several days I did not make a journal entry. However, through this I was able to learn some new things about myself. As this journal, because it was not shown to anyone, I did not expect a response, but rather personal feedback.
Have you ever sat down and wondered how words came to be, or how words such as brother suddenly become abbreviated into bro? In a TED Talk titled What Makes a Word “Real” by Anne Curzan, she discusses how the meaning of words have changed overtime due to various social influences. She argues how people use a word in different contexts adjusts its definition, and that people just make new words to compensate for new innovations in society. For example, some popular words she uses include “defriend” and “hangry.” Furthermore, she points out that none of these “slang” words are in the modern day dictionaries, despite their popular usage. Curzan then goes on and asks the audience why we do not question the context within the dictionary, as we are taught to question all resources in an academic context. Most people do not realize that the dictionary has authors, and that it does not just appear out of thin air. In sum then, Curzan’s TED Talk forces the audience to be more attentive of the words they use, and that it does not take a dictionary to make a word real.
Argument exists everywhere. Through your words, body posture, facial expressions, the clothes you wear, and much more, a statement is made. In his Winning Arguments, Fish argues that argument is inevitable. More specifically, he claims that argument will be ever present because we do not live in a utopia with zero conflict. For example, he writes “truth and knowledge are always in the process of being renegotiated.” In other words, society is always developing and changing, therefore it is always negotiable on how to improve, and is therefore argumentative on how to best do so. However, are there times when topics are not arguable?
Universal truths are the opposite of relativism, and can not be rhetorically argued. Examples of this include the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, or death is inevitable. With universal truths, society is given some concrete middle ground that we all “universally” experience. On the other hand, Fish writes, “a state of universal agreement… is not something we mortals will ever achieve.” Ironically, he is attempting to create his own universal truth in stating that argument is inescapable. In sum then, Fish suggests that argument is a revolving circle, that once we are out of one, it is certain that there is another argument meant to be held in the future.
Have you ever gone through a month, a week, or even a day without having a single argument or disagreement? Throughout Stanley Fish’s book, Winning Arguments, it is claimed that argument is inevitable and inescapable. He specifically focuses on four types of arguments: political arguments, domestic arguments, legal arguments, and academic arguments. Most prevalent and controversial today, however, are political arguments due to the political unrest in the United States. In his chapter two of Winning Arguments, Fish argues that political arguments are a never ending circle of back and forth through the use of “talking points”, however there is a rare chance of conversion. More specifically, he uses modern day examples such as the Washington Redskins or same sex marriage to demonstrate the regularity of political arguments, and the difficulty to reach a verdict. For example, he writes, “Being convinced of either of these views of the responsibilities and limits of government renders you incapable of hearing arguments from the other side as anything but the progeny of error.” (Fish, Chapter 2). In other words, once a person has formulated their opinion on a political issue through educating themselves on the topic, they view their opinion as the right opinion. A famous quote by Daniel Patrick Moynihan states, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Once both sides of an argument generate their evidence and facts as to why they believe what they believe, it is not a matter of who has the best facts, rather who can present the most skilled argument. In sum then, Fish suggests that the difference between fact and opinion becomes hazy during political arguments and causes the inability to be convinced.
Fish, Stanley Eugene. Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn’t Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom. Harper Paperbacks, 2017.
In my free time, I really enjoy videography. Specifically, for the past three years, I have been videoing moments in my life that aren’t necessarily significant, but moments that remind me to live each and every moment to the fullest. After a year, I combined all of the videos into one comA very significant part of these videos are the songs that I choose. Through this, I have come to realize how powerful some songs are even without lyrics. For example, “Outro” by the M83 has very limited lyrics, but the instrumental section is so powerful that I get chills every time. When I listen to songs similar to “Outro,” I close my eyes and visualize my life. This situation that I create in my head, while it is not real, makes me motivated to keep working hard academically and athletically. The intention of these songs is to express emotion, and to not focus on the words in the song rather everything else. The simplicity of this creates space for one’s thoughts and interpretations, which is why songs with little to no lyrics are so powerful.