Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

9 facts we all learned from ‘The Breakfast Club’

Just ask me about The Breakfast Club. Prepare for a dissertation – I have a PhD in Breakfast-ology.

Even so, I am not the only girl who learned a thing or two from this infamous 80’s film. Here is what I took away from one of my favorite movies of all time, and perhaps one of the most influential ones.

Growing up isn’t too fun.

bclub1

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/24/30th-anniversary-breakfast-club_n_5023062.html

The amount of screws fallen = amount of imperfection in the world

bclub2

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/24/30th-anniversary-breakfast-club_n_5023062.html

Dissatisfaction can always be more than skin deep.

bclub3

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/24/30th-anniversary-breakfast-club_n_5023062.html

Teenagers follow each other in packs.

bclub4

Source: http://www.sharegif.com/if-he-gets-up-well-all-get-up-itll-be-anarchy.html

Rebellion is liberating. 

bclub5

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/24/30th-anniversary-breakfast-club_n_5023062.html

The opinions of others can affect anyone, even “criminals.”

bclub6

Source: http://www.sharegif.com/i-could-disappear-forever-and-it-wouldt-make-any-difference.html

We all have the ability to be offended. We all can get hurt by false impressions.

Basically, acting on assumptions = bad.

bclub7

Source: http://learnwithcolleen.blogspot.com/2013/08/why-breakfast-club-is-best-movie-ever.html

We are equally problematic. We are the same, because we are all different.

bclub8

Source: http://rebloggy.com/post/1k-the-breakfast-club-idk-owngifs/38797558900

No one is as he or she seems.

The entire point of The Breakfast Club is to portray stereotypical characters, and then reveal their complexities through communication. In this case, each character undergoes some sort of abuse from authority figures, parents and even peers. They all hide their vulnerability through different images – the tough jock, the heartless bad boy, the perfect princess, etc. – but what they seem to be is a far cry from what they are: damaged.

Why teens should get involved in politics now

Inauguration Dawn

By Erikjc (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It seems that most teenagers are not concerned with political matters until presidential elections roll around. I can relate – I only pretend to be a professional ice skating critic when the Winter Olympics come on. However, ice skating performances do not affect healthcare, laws, government restrictions, taxes, etc. Teenagers approach politics blindly and sporadically, so how can they make informed decisions when they turn eighteen?

Presidencies aside, even local elections are hardly discussed among teenagers. While some may know who the governor of Florida is, not everyone knows our mayor’s or city commissioner’s name, let alone their political standpoints.

The way we can amend the issue of teenagers being unaware of national and grassroots political matters is simple: politics may not relate to teenagers, but teenagers can find ways to relate to politics. Most parties have social network pages that teenagers can keep up with. Similarly, political news channels such as MSNBC and Fox News should all be followed, as they all have different ways of framing political matters. Finally, teenagers should be encouraged to find their own political paths, not just the ones of their parents and friends. The majority of today’s youth “belong to the democratic party,” although they do not really belong to any party until they begin to actively work to meet the goals of that party through voting. I highly recommend that teenagers research different political outlines before committing to one party. For example, only recently did I visit the outline of the Libertarian party’s goals, and I found that while I do not agree with them 100%, I certainly feel comfortable with the Libertarian spin on mainstream politics as of now.

Once teenagers stop seeing the “trendiness” of politics, particularly during elections, they will see politics as they really are: confusing, decisive, heated, and highly-valued. People sometimes guard their parties with their good names, but teenagers have the advantage of not having firmly set views to the left or to the right. By being open to the unpopular opinions as well as the widely tweeted ones, teenagers can be encouraged to examine their true feelings early and make intelligent decisions based on more than catch phrases and hashtags.

In sum, teenagers should approach the political world with open arms, but more importantly, open minds and open eyes. Without researching the goals of all parties and keeping up with their political actions and phraseology, teenagers will have harder times adapting to the highly-detailed world of political affairs.

Valencia grads: to Harvard and beyond

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org

 

Valencia College is a unique institution to say the least. What was once Orlando’s community college is now a bachelor’s degree-granting institution, an extension of the University of Central Florida and home to a recent Harvard Medical School admit.

Cathy Gutierrez got her start at Valencia’s Osceola campus for financial reasons and then moved forward to the University of Central Florida to finish her degrees in biotechnology, molecular biology and microbiology. She completed her degrees with a stellar GPA while working at SeaWorld and Red Lobster and volunteering at Give Kids the World. The Valencia-UCF graduate will begin her journey at Harvard Medical School this summer.

Gutierrez’s success proves that Valencia’s prowess is making great strides. Our humble community college is graduating top notch students, but it is doing even more than that – the college is graduating real students with unbelievable stories.

I could report on any one of Valencia’s students due to how interesting their backgrounds are. The college’s students range from reformed convicts to high-achieving students who could not afford to attend anywhere but Valencia. The most redeeming quality of the college is its commitment to honoring hard work and achievement, while instilling these values in its students. Nearly every Valencia student or graduate whom I have met has overcome great obstacles – several jobs, difficult course loads, financial struggles, etc. – and with the help of the college, many of them have found success in the workforce and graduate school.

Click here to learn more of Gutierrez’s story. Visit Valencia’s website to learn more about its mission.

Follow Miss Musings on Facebook and Twitter for more stories from the M2 perspective. 

This is a world where everyone is famous

Social Media Marketing

By Paola peralta (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Tweets. Hashtags. Duckfaces. Selfies. LIKES.

We like those.

With the abundance of social media in our lives, we can create a world that, quite literally, only revolves around ourselves. When I am feeling down I can snap a selfie and put it on Facebook or Instagram only to receive compliments and likes that are tailored just for me.

When we tweet and use Facebook, we make our lives accessible to the world. Our social network sites are our marks in the digital world and belong solely to us, as they serve to define who we are. Since these social network sites nurture “likes” and complimentary comments, we grow to expect our “friends” to make us feel important. Social networks allow us to form celebrity complexes for ourselves. 

Think about the last time you added a friend on Facebook; were they really that great? Do you honestly love all 1000 people who are obligated to like at least one of your photos or statuses? Most likely not, but a like is still a like. Maybe we expect reassurance from other people and treat them like our fans instead of “friends.”

The celebrity complex is dangerous because it can lead to paranoia, low self-esteem, and a great loss of time. While I am only one person who can testify to the existence of the celebrity complex, anyone can reason out its prominence in our world. Why else would we be taking selfies and updating others on our new haircuts? Perhaps we do so out of boredom, or perhaps we are prompted by an expectation of a return on our social network investment.

Social networks, particularly personal profiles, are designed just for us, by us. We only “follow” artists we like, people we are interested in, and political reporting we agree with. We let Facebook and Twitter vet out the content that is well-suited for us and we do not engage with a multiplicity of other perspectives on current events, pop culture, and the like.

Our social networks are our managers – they manage media and blind us to the “unnecessary.”

Our friends lift us up when we snap our fingers – or our cameras.

We are the celebrities in a world where everyone is famous.

Irony time: Follow Miss Musings on Twitter and like her on Facebook for more blog updates! Let’s have a conversation. 

9 ways to be an excellent journalist

GLAMcamp London, England, GB, IMG 4965 edit

By Peter Weis (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

We all have our rock star dreams, literal or not. While journalism is an attainable field to go into, it takes a lot of effort, some connections, a bunch of luck, and the following skills.

  1. Know how to speak to people effectively. You know those people with the firm handshakes, easy tones, and understanding looks who you just want to open up to? Be that type of person. Speak with ease, smile, and do not pressure others for facts or be annoying. You never know who will fess up the right information to you based on your manner.
  2. Learn how to feel out situations. Are you in an intense atmosphere like a crime scene? Or are you in a friendly party setting? Be aware of your surroundings and try to analyze which people look the most willing to talk to you. Not everyone will want to speak to a journalist.
  3. Butter people up. Everyone loves compliments, but at the very least, try to get on a level playing field with the person you are interviewing; this will make them like you more and be more candid when they answer your questions.
  4. Listen much more than you talk. Journalists are meant to ask questions and tell stories – that’s it. Try not to be self-centered when speaking to interview subjects and turn their responses around on yourself. It does not matter what YOU would do in a certain situation, but rather, what your subject did. Be warm, ask follow up questions, clarify, and move forward in order to use your time constructively.
  5. Come prepared. Always arrive to interviews with questions in mind! No matter how great you are on the spot, it is always best to come prepared with some questions in hand.
  6. Focus on making people comfortable around you. Contrary to what you may believe, journalists should a. never be annoying, and b. NEVER try to be intimidating. No one wants to fess up facts to people who intend to intimidate others with their prowess. Whether you are talking to your grandma or interviewing the mayor, remember to make eye contact, be engaging, and approach your subject as a curious friend instead of a “big time” journalist.
  7. Never prompt interviews with “I’m a journalist…” This follows the same path as the last tip. In most cases, interview subjects will get nervous when they realize they are speaking to someone who can control their public images. It really does not matter that you are a journalist when you are attempting to get a quote from someone. What matters more is making a friendly first impression, getting your subject to trust you, and then throwing in the journalist bit.
  8. Remember that this is not about you – it is about the story. If you go into journalism just because you like seeing your own name in print, you might as well throw the dream away now. This field is way too cutthroat for people who are driven only by success. Journalists must always prioritize telling accurate, informative stories from original angles. The best journalists are the ones who could spend their whole lives without receiving any credit for their work yet still feel fulfilled by being the ones to tell the stories.
  9. Be willing to learn from others. The most crucial aspect of journalism everyone must remember is that journalism is a constantly evolving field. If Twitter gets big, learn how to use it in a timely manner. Be on top of new social networks. Ask questions. Be present. Finally, be willing to learn from your interview subjects, colleagues, elders, and youth. No matter how qualified you are, you are a storyteller, not the be-all end-all fact machine. How can you tell a good story if you are not willing to listen to the stories of other people?

Have more tips for being a great journalist? Tweet them to me or leave a comment below!

6 qualities that we don’t test on in schools

Students

By CollegeCommGordon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

After fretting over four AP classes and their corresponding exams this year, I realized that we are not testing on all elements of education that really matter. What we do test on is the ability to work under pressure, recall blindly-memorized information, and think inside the box. Here is what we don’t test on – but we should.

Creativity: I don’t see an AP Poetry exam anywhere. In all seriousness, creativity can be expressed in a multitude of ways – art, problem solving, and just general idea generation. However, college and job applications only give us essays and supplemental material sections to showcase our skills. An inventive test may solve the puzzle.

Leadership: The SAT may note your Geometry skills, but it certainly will not note your role as a team member. Arguably, colleges value “leadership” – an indefinable term – in extracurricular activities. Yet no standardized tests discuss this vital topic adequately, and “president” of a club is sometimes just a title.

In-the-background-ness: Are you not a “natural leader?” Don’t be shy. Those people are indispensible to any college campus or workplace. Trust me, working with a bunch of “leaders” can stir up animosity and lax results due to unceasing contentiousness.

Compassion: A personal quality that is often overlooked by exams is how good a person is. Goodness, in essence, is defined by humility and compassion. While your volunteer and charity activities may indicate these qualities, anyone can volunteer – not everyone is passionate about it.

Tenacity: Endurance test? Try a mental one. See how many problems you can solve before giving up: the best citizens are the ones who are relentless in their fights toward a better society on campus and off.

Defiance: In school, we are taught to absorb; we are rarely asked to challenge what is taught. Is what we are taught perfect? Not if you believe in the power of learning. The world is a flexible circumstance, and our greatest scientist and philosophers constantly defied what they were taught. We now teach what the wrong once defended; we teach what is meant to be challenged. Now is our chance to make our own assertions.

What qualities do you want to see tests on? Leave a comment below with your thoughts, if you like. 

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What it’s really like being homeschooled

We are hiding... our awesomeness.

We are hiding… our awesomeness. Image Source: http://singaporehomeschooling.com/

 

“You’re homeschooled? Oh… cool… yeah… so, don’t you worry about socialization?”

Oh, don’t I ever! I go to the movies with my friends on weekday mornings, shop at Target at 8AM, and go to parties and dances on the weekends. Sometimes I worry I socialize too much… wait, that’s not what you meant?

According to a quick poll among my fellow homeschooled friends, this is one of the most common comments we receive after outing ourselves as homeschooled to our peers. People frequently assume that because we are not sitting in a classroom for seven hours a day, breathing the air of our fellow teens, that we can’t hack it in the real world, which is obviously a social one. I mean, why else would teenagers be texting each other all the time and stammering when they talk to their own parents? It’s a social world, and we are simply sitting ducks with our impeccable communication skills and unique insights carefully honed during our time learning outside of the classroom.

Speaking of not learning in classrooms, it is only natural to assume that homeschoolers are not “well educated.” We are not educated like everyone else, so there has to be something fundamentally flawed with how we learn. Right? Right??? Perhaps I should just let my SAT scores and plethora of Jane Austen quotes do the talking, but I will elaborate instead. Homeschoolers learn three-dimensionally. We communicate with adults more frequently than our colleagues, so we tend to have more mature grasps on worldly issues spurred by such conversations. For example, while some of my public schooled peers were chattering on about Twilight, I was seeking just one kid who could talk about the fiscal cliff with me in as great depth as my father could. As a homeschooler I also took accredited classes online and read myriad books on topics ranging from Japanese culture to holocaust and genocide studies. While I took the classes to put toward my credibility as a student, the other things I learned, yes, for fun. I know I am not the only homeschooler who feels so alienated by ignoramuses that I take it upon myself to constantly be outperforming my public schooled peers. This is merely an obligation I feel for my fellow unorthodox students. In short, homeschoolers feel pressure to prove themselves as smart in order to avoid people questioning their intelligence; reading between the lines, this may mean that we are in fact more educated than some of our colleagues because we have to prove our abilities, not just skate by on general education.

Not all reactions to being homeschooled are negative. Some of my friends have heard remarks like “wow, you’re so lucky!” and “that means you get to sleep in, right?” Both of these statements still come from a place of ignorance, but they are a little less hurtful than comments like “so do you live on a farm?” and “I would miss socializing too much.” Yet I must say, the worst comments are the ones not even said at all – the glares, the stares, the looks of utmost horror, and of course, the newfound disinterest in befriending such a “weird” kid.

Since I have been homeschooled for ten years, I have faced all of these reactions after telling people that I am homeschooled. Admittedly, I was ashamed to admit my homeschooled status, because as soon as I would be getting along with people my age, once I outed my education situation, I was suddenly:

  • Living on a farm
  • Uneducated
  • Socially awkward
  • And totally friendless

 

All of these things are far from true, yet it is hard not to feel like you’re trapped in a “homeschooled closet” when everyone has the same opinions of you based on how you have chosen to be educated. People fail to realize that homeschoolers come from diverse backgrounds. I cannot even count how many times I have asked kids “why did you start homeschooling?” because I know that every story is different. People homeschool because they have learning disabilities, have high aptitudes, felt slowed down by traditional education, wanted more time to pursue the arts or sports, were bullied, or simply liked to learn a little bit differently.

In the end, we homeschoolers are just kids and teens trying to make it through puberty. We have to seek out friendships and work hard to show people that we are “just like everyone else,” and yet completely different in our own special ways. Some of us dual enroll at colleges, others take classes online, and others just stick to the books. Few of us live on farms. All of us have friends. Finally, we are all just students, even if we aren’t initially treated as such – but some of us may have published books or ridden rollercoasters all day on a Tuesday.

If you haven’t talked to a homeschooler yet, I highly recommend you give it a try; you will be surprised, and most likely, delighted.

 In case you haven’t gotten the message, check this out: 

 

3 slam poetry performances that I can’t stop thinking about

Some slam poems have made me feel so deeply that I could not ponder on anything other than their meanings, and how certain phrases convey these meanings so acutely.

Here is a selection of a few slam poems that made me think, as well as some commentary and specific parts to look out for. However, these lines and meanings should stand out by themselves.

 

1. “Nearest Exit” by Alex Dang, Brenna Twohy, and Eirean Bradley

 

“You can only tread water for so long… when the plane starts going down you will not want to keep breathing… you were just fooling yourself into thinking you were above gravity.”

I do not dare to state what this poem is about – or any of these poems really – but “Nearest Exit” appears to deal with misconceptions regarding coping with grief. The vocal dynamic created by the trio of speakers, similar to a group reading from Greek and Roman times, brings the morbid nuances and helpless calls for realization of this poem to life.

 

2. “Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers

 

“[She was] deciding how much space she deserves to occupy… I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word “sorry”… a circular obsession I never wanted, but inheritance is accidental.”

This poem is one of Button Poetry’s most viral videos, at approximately 4 million views. Myers employs the metaphor of food and size to represent the role of women in, what she has experienced, a man’s world, and expresses her anger through helpless observances, whether through apologizing for no reason or observing the oppressive scenario she never asked for. A brilliant social commentary, “Shrinking Women” is bound to be known as a 4th wave feminism literature trademark, albeit digital. Let the number of views speak for itself in this regard.

 

3. “21” by Patrick Roche

 “6 – I wanna be… Spiderman. Or my dad, they’re kind of the same…” 

Since this poem has been featured on Upworthy its views have skyrocketed to over 2 million views in one week. Roche is one of my favorite spoken word poets because he writes such unorthodox poems. The poem has been met with some confused comments due to its complexity, but it brilliantly details the life a boy with an alcoholic father (and presumably mother) by recalling memories from years 21 to 0. Ironically, 21 is the legal drinking age in America, and this age and his father’s death start off the poem.

Other recommendations include OCD, Audio Book, Pine City, and Siri: A Coping Mechanism. These poems contain colorful language, so please view with discretion.