Definition: Lack of clarity; wavering; being undecided
Example Sentence: The law’s ambivalence about the importance of a victim’s identity left the public curious.
Definition: Lack of clarity; wavering; being undecided
Example Sentence: The law’s ambivalence about the importance of a victim’s identity left the public curious.
Definition: An expression of regret or sorrow.
Example Sentence: His lamentation over his failing Math grade had little effect on his teacher.
I don’t have a clear picture of my future plans so after pondering the musings of Alan Watts, (Click this link to watch a video with the audio.) I was left with a sort of raw emptiness in my core being. Like someone had cut into my flesh and decided to scrape the bones of it’s whiteness.
Looking back, all my life I’ve had trouble answering the, “What do you want to do with your life?” type of questions that I recall being seriously posed to me starting age 9. But I brushed off the annoyance as something that would settle when I grew up into a wise and dignified college student who had everything figured out. (Yes, I’m chuckling about that silly idea too). I was just a kid and that’s all I wanted to be. So how come society deemed it socially acceptable to expect that child to know what she wanted to do and question her capabilities based on her answer?
I’m in college now and I still have so many questions, though at this point I’ve picked up trying to pretend I don’t, so I find myself reverting back to my 9-year-old self and resorting to beating around the bush when people ask me to explain myself.
This is how typical conversations go when I meet new crowds.
Stranger: “So, what are you studying right now?”
Me: “Well. I’m a bio major. For now.” *awkward chuckle*
Stranger: *Puzzled look*
Me: “I’m just exploring my options and trying to find something I really like.”
Stranger: “Ahh. I see. And what year are you?”
Me: “Um. I’m a second year.”
Stranger: “Oh okay, you still have a little time” *nodding head vigorously as if to assure me that I’ll get my bearings together soon and I’m not a total disaster*
Well guess what? It sure doesn’t seem like I have much time and stranger, you’re not helping.
It’s like it’s me against the world and I’m just getting knocked off my feet every time I get some sort of grip on what I’m supposed to be doing. And what exasperates me the most is that I am aware that I exude frustrated uncertainty when I am made to express what my intentions are as an undecided student, which then leaves me embarrassed and guilty for feeling that way. The problem with the situation above and the feelings I cycle through, that I’ve had to go through countless times, is that I am being reduced to something less than a human being. I feel that despite my faults, I have grown at great strides as a person and to sum me up by my major and career plans is foolish. As a college student, I should be allowed to explore and find myself.
This past year, I thought I almost had it figured out too. I was near done convincing myself that I wasn’t the unfortunate kid from the “ghetto” high school who had less financial stability and more worry than any other kid she knew. No. I was a college student, at a UC nonetheless, and if I couldn’t make it with talent, I sure as hell was going to claw my way through and against everyone to get a degree. But you can’t live like that. Clenched jaw and fighting fists up, I was not only battling the oppressors but those who had escaped oppression and were offering to help. Inevitably, I lost my way again.
And so, I found myself back at square one.
Back in a ditch, convincing myself that it’s okay, you’re safe here. College is just the beginning. There will always be opportunities. Mantras I repeat to quiet the demons that each human being holds inside, the demons that scream you aren’t good enough.
So instead of what I think I should be doing and what others expect me to be doing, what could I be doing if money were no object?
If I was able to lead my life exactly as I did up until this point and this was the very moment I learned that currency had lost all importance in the world, I would still be lost. But I think that’s okay because it would be an adventurous kind of lost. The kind of questioning you make when you’re running on pavement and you’re deciding which roads you want to take but it doesn’t really matter because the exploration will eventually lead you back home. I want that.
I want to know that each voyage will bring me back to sweet happiness, I want peace in my life, and I want an environment and people who offer stimulation as well as stability.
But mostly, I want to find a way to save other people. I know it isn’t my place to “save” others and that that sort of thinking will ruin both parties but I can’t help it. I want to eliminate the pain that certain individuals hide behind clouded eyes and twitching smiles. I want everyone to keep reaching for higher standards and I want them to see what I see in them. I may be cynical but I’m also a romantic. I dream that everyone will attain happiness and I’m the type of person that will carry the weight of other’s pain in hopes it will help. Because I’ve been there.
I used to hold immense darkness within me. It was the kind of heavy burden on the mind that grows and weighs down the body then swallows you up from within.
Until I began breaking.
And then I ran.
Ran away from obligations, friendships, responsibilities, my past, my present, and my future. And I thought that this was how I was going to live out the rest of my life. Not living but simply existing. I’d say I’m still running even to this day but I’m slowly learning to accept the help offered to me by people who are cheering me on and helping light my path. I have also found routines that will bring me back onto stable grounds and I am thankful for these saving graces.
So to pay homage to one of those activities that has brought me back to life countless times, there is something that I need to learn. If those would permit it, I would decorate and ornament the most precious canvas that could be offered to me. The human body. Yes, tattoos and piercings. Ink on flesh. Hard metal on soft skin. There is so much beauty in this art and I wish I could immerse myself into the culture that has evolved from such simple methods.
I don’t know whether I see myself actually pursuing this dream in the future but if I was going to take a chance and explore outside conventional boundaries, it would be with body modification. There has never been something that makes me ache with want as much as wanting to learn this.
Laying pigment into destroyed dermis and allowing the body to heal and absorb what has been placed under the skin may seem destructive but I think it’s lovely. And to puncture and mar the body in order to decorate it can be seen as mutilation but I challenge that thought with the idea that promoting this safe method of self-expression can heal rather than harm. These body modifications can symbolize the internal struggle and perseverance of hard times and human existence. I completely understand that the body should be seen as a temple but in response I say why not create the most wonderful one you can offer? This vessel that I reside in is all I have left to offer to this world and if I can stamp the markers of time that I have passed in this universe to allow me to reflect on my roots, I think I should have that choice.
I truly do believe that everyone is an artist as well and has a story to tell. It just takes a little time and reflection to figure out what it is that is your niche. I discovered comfort in art with doodles on the corners of my classwork that then evolved into larger scaled temporary “tattoos” on myself like the two pictured above. (The left is from almost exactly a year ago and the right is from two weeks ago). These skin drawings give me time to tune out the bustling activity around me as I shut down and become absorbed in making clean lines and creating shapes representative of my moments in time. You see, what’s interesting is that my drawings evolve when I do and I can appreciate that because I can paint a story with the changing ink on my flesh. I can only wish that others will find something that frees them as well.
“I wonder, only in passing, whether the indelible ornamentation that man inscribes upon his own epidermis does not respond to a nostalgia for the universal internally generated coloring of corrollas, furs, shells, carapaces and wings. For man it has been necessary to create both works and tools outside of himself. But it may be that he retains an obscure nostalgia to create them on his own body, to make them a part of it rather than projecting them outwards onto an independent surface, where he is free to retouch them as he sees fit, which is precisely what painting and art are.”
Post submitted by Kelly
Definition: An individual whose physical being is tall and strong, but has a quiet, gentle character that does not match his/her appearance
Example Sentence: As placid and amiable as he was tall, he became known as the gentle giant of the squad.
Definition: To reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on.
Example Sentence: Civil liberties were further curtailed by the supreme court’s ruling.
I grew up very rich. I lived on an island with my grandmother. We had handmade boats, endless delectable seafood, and a panoramic view from our kitchen window. We never worried about money—and that’s probably because money was never there. Our island was too far of a commute for money. And even if it did get onto our island, it would see the rich simplicity of our life and feel absolutely humbled.
I come from the privileged, less-than-one-percent of our population who grew up not worrying about money. Not because we were rich, but because our parents never really cared to value the pursuit of money. I grew up in the Philippines, in a simple house, with a lawyer for a grandfather and a doctor for a grandmother. And the only thing they taught me to value was hard work. “If there’s a will, there’s a way”, were the first words of English that I ever learned.
I didn’t realize my privilege until I came to the U.S. I lived with my aunt, who wanted me to get good grades so that I can go to college and get a nice paying job. Her perspective was always to think about money. Where would my money come from? How much money did I have? How would I pay my bills? Her practicality appealed to my sense of reason but not to my soul. It was hard to unlearn my nonchalant attitude about money. If it were up to me, I would just ignore its very existence and go on with my life.
Which is exactly what I’ve done since I’ve been at UCLA. I don’t have very much money, but I afford myself the luxury of great, meaningful experiences. My most recent expense is doing an unpaid internship at an employment law firm. I want to work in the legal field, but until recently, had absolutely no practical knowledge of what lawyers actually did. From a plethora of law clerk jobs—which mostly involved working closely with paperwork rather than people—I picked an unpaid internship that promised to give me hands-on experience in the field. As an unpaid intern, I have personally written legal memos, attended settlement meetings, prepared for trial, tackled complex legal issues, and had my input valued by a professional in the field. For no monetary pay, I experienced first-hand what it was like to be a lawyer. It’s much easier for us college students to value money-making jobs–to pick up any office job that pays a steady hourly wage–but ask yourself: how is this job adding to your human capital? How is it increasing your value in terms of skills, experience, or networks? Taking an unpaid yet hands-on internship is a luxury, one that low-income college students like me could never thought I could afford, yet I urge you to value your long-term goals and allow your deepest desires to surface.
Still, I can’t deny that money isn’t an object in my life. I’m a graduating student with a family to support, and soon enough, earning money will become too real of an issue. Yet, I still firmly believe that my grandparents in the Philippines had it right: work hard, do what you love, and you’ll have a great life. Being a great lawyer doesn’t mean having a lot of money—in fact, it has nothing to do with how much you earn, and everything to do with how hard you work. The most inspiring lawyer I have ever met started his own firm out of an apartment-looking office, would stay up all night working on briefs for his clients, and still takes the time to mentor aspiring lawyers like me. His work has inspired me to reflect upon what it is that I want to do in the future. And the questions that have gotten me farther were not, “How much do I want to make?”, but rather “What is it that I would be willing to work hard for?”, “What is the most challenging and stimulating work that I could endure and enjoy?”. Yes, of course, money is a valid, necessary object in our lives, but it doesn’t have any inherent value. It is a thing to save, spend, give, use, haggle over–but it should certainly not be something to sacrifice dreams for.
So for all of the cynics, pedantics, and worriers inside of us, here’s my advice for getting rich: Money is an object. Treat it as such. Give it a second glance like you would an expensive T.V. on your way out of a burning house. Then, look away from it and set your eyes on the life-changing experiences that really matter.
Post submitted by: Miqi Cos
This video, produced by an organization called Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, lists ten victories scored this year against racial injustice in America. Here they are:
I hope that these victories serve as inspiration to continue combating racial injustice into 2014.
Post submitted by Jacob.
Definition: Unconcerned, nonchalant, lighthearted
Example Sentence: He managed to give an insouciant shrug.
Definition: To be clumsy and awkward.
Example Sentence: I guess I’m all thumbs because I’m so nervous. I’m already late for my date.
It’s that time of year again! Let’s see if I can come up with a good list of American holiday traditions: ugly sweaters, eggnog, fireplaces, radio jingles et cetera. For most of us, this time of year is all about the warm and fuzzies. Eating to our hearts’ content and being surrounded by our bizarre family members. I urge you (and myself) to show love to the less fortunate this holiday season. It could be in any shape or form: a warm cup of tea, an invitation to dinner, volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating warm clothes, giving gifts of kindness to friends who aren’t feeling the love. If there were any time to ask such a cheesy question as this, it is now.
I was asked this by a friend some weeks ago and was shocked by how little I had to say. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own anxieties and loneliness that you start to feel entitled to others’ affection, yet somehow forget to reciprocate. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture like showing up at a friend’s workplace with a horse.. it could be something as simple as sending a “Have a wonderful day” text message, telling a loved one “I’m proud of you,” or giving an unsolicited hug.
Even if you are the friendliest, most caring person in the world, I really want you to ruminate on this question: how do you show love?
Post submitted by Kanyin
Definition: Feeling or showing strong and energetic support for a person, cause, etc.
Example Sentence: The detective was zealous in her pursuit of the kidnappers.
“(To) take something/someone for granted”
Definition: To accept something/ someone (without gratitude) as a matter of course.
Example Sentence: We tend to take simple things for granted, such as nice weather or healthy bodies.
I was born into an opinionated community. Living in an observant Jewish household and going to Jewish schools exposed me to a worldview that is obsessed with the uniqueness of the Jewish people and our history. We had our own calendar, which commemorated centuries of Jewish oppression and the miracle of our survival. Growing up in this community instilled in me a sensitivity to social inequality and a desire to confront it. However, I could not reserve the center of my universe for Jews exclusively. My mixed heritage was a constant reminder that world history has no main character. My knowledge of Jewish tragedy and continuity were balanced by my grandparents’ stories of life in the Philippines. And after finally traveling to the birthplace of my mother and grandparents in the 10th grade, I saw that people in other parts of the world deal with challenges that most members of the American Jewish community will never have to worry about. I lost my taste for all narratives of uniqueness. Instead, the lessons of Jewish history and colonial legacies combined and galvanized my commitment to pursuing justice for those in the greatest need of it.
If money were no object, I would design my life to be in a constant state of problem-solving and exploration. I would visit the most undeveloped parts of the world, learn languages, and gather wisdom from people whose lives are most different from my own. I would befriend a group of people with similar interests and diverse skill sets, and we would discuss the possibility of using our talents to improve the lives of poor and underprivileged people around the world. We would commit to one project at a time, and after thorough research, we would embark on international adventures and try to implement our life-improving strategies in coordination with local experts, community leaders, educators, and anyone else with an opinion that would further ensure the success of the project. We would work on a problem until we found a way to resolve it, and in the meantime, adapt ourselves to the lifestyles of the host communities. Each adventure would end with improved lives and a bunch of new international friends.
I would also open up this experience to conscious international travelers by opening a service-oriented hostel in a developing country. Rather than paying for lodging, guests would contribute a designated number of hours working to improve the lives of local communities using their individual talents. This would provide guests and locals with the opportunity to learn about one another, broaden their perspectives, and foster an appreciation for diversity.
Although this is an idealized version of my future, I believe that I am currently on a path that will lead me toward a real-life version of my fantasy. By majoring in International Development Studies, I am preparing myself for the challenges of working abroad and applying my skills toward the improvement of other peoples’ lives. I have been fortunate enough to travel outside the US every summer since I came to UCLA, and the perspective I have gained from being outside my comfort zone has left me with a hunger to continue learning from people whose lives have not been fully shaped by Western religion, media, and materialism. When I graduate, I hope to spend a year or two working abroad for a development organization or news publication focusing on development issues.
Although money is one concern of mine, it is not my primary concern. I want to live a life that is rich with diverse experiences, meaningful acquaintances, and moments of self-discovery triggered by challenges that have nothing to do with money. Hopefully, one day, I will have accrued the capital and connections necessary to open my development hostel. But if not, I am confident in the investment I have put into my education and interests, and I am certain that I will always be doing something that satisfies my craving for justice, knowledge, and adventure.
Post submitted my Jacob.
There’s a pressure to be the whole package,’ she says. ‘Not only do you have to be intelligent and articulate, but you also have to be attractive.
Emily Graslie, the twenty-three year old Chief Curiosity Correspondent at Chicago’s Museum of Natural History, hosts a popular YouTube show called Brain Scoop. Recently, she posted a video titled, “Where My Ladies At?” in which she addresses the many viewers who post blatantly offensive and sexist remarks in the comments sections of her videos. Graslie argues that this kind of negative feedback discourages women from pursuing STEM careers—that is, careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (these fields are known to be dominated by men).
Perhaps you should wear slightly racier clothing?
She could easily keep us focused by changing her clothes.
Comments like these reveal how, unlike men, women are judged not only by their intelligence, but by their physical appeal. Personally, I believe that this issue goes beyond the STEM fields. In fact, I have observed this, the physical evaluation of professional women, in the classroom. Last year, I took a class on sex and gender, and although we discussed themes of gender roles and sexism, we, the students, still judged our professor based on her physical appearance. The professor, though clearly an expert in her field, was most admired for her attractiveness: students were in awe over her perfectly styled hair and her sophisticated fashion sense. Her expertise on the subject matter was, in other words, secondary to her physical appeal, making her an aesthetically pleasing object, first, and then a successful and intelligent professional.
We, as a gendered society, have progressed: more and more women are establishing themselves in the professional world. Further progression, however, will require us to alter our mindset and acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of individuals, both men and women, as Graslie says:
‘We can’t idly sit by and tolerate internet bullying in any form,’ she said. ‘Because that’s what this is – this is internet bullying. . . Help us make it widely-known that this kind of apathetic attitude is detrimental and unacceptable.
‘We need to make sure that we’re making it possible for people of all genders to feel acknowledged for their contributions and not feel held back by something as arbitrary as their genetics or their appearance.’
If you would like to read the full article, click here.
Post submitted by JoAnna
“Apple of someone’s eye”
Definition: The person who someone loves most and is very proud of.
Example Sentence: His youngest son was the apple of his eye.
Pronunciation: [os-ten-tey-shuhs, -tuhn-]
Definition: Characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others or attract notice.
Example Sentence: The city lacks ostentatious palaces, temples, or monuments.
At WSP, we know how stressful finals can be. Come see us for support on your final papers and/or materials for graduate school applications (resumes and personal statement essays). We are here to help you feel more confident so stop by! Our drop in hours schedule can be found by clicking here: WSP Fall 2013 FINALS WEEK Drop in Hours_yellow
“I am looking for freedom in the wild eyes of the dancing girls”
- Noah Gundersen, “Fire”
I discovered “Fire” last year during an identity crisis. I was trying to re-define myself, searching for what made me different, or at the least, more interesting. I have come to learn that what brings people together is not how eccentric they are, but their ability to communicate with their eyes, their smiles, and especially their hips. Still I greatly appreciate what that time, and especially this song taught me about myself. I want to be a dancing girl.
I want wild eyes and I want my being to represent freedom.
In “Reflections in a Cell” by South African storyteller, Mafika Gwala, the sentence that struck me – actually engendered a physical reaction was this: “She jived so beautifully.” It was hardly consequential but I felt it. I wanted to be the woman in question. The one whose body and rhythm made her memorable. The narrator was in prison recounting some of his more interesting life experiences and the only woman he remembered was the one who danced like the world revolved around her. The one who was able to say, “I am a free woman. And you will remember me because of that,” without ever speaking to the slightly misogynist narrator. I suppose I can speak or even write those precise words – and I will, when I’m a writer making waves and helping people find their own freedom – but I wish my hips would do the talking for me sometimes. As a budding feminist, this might seem counter intuitive – looking for value in what my physical body is capable of – but I believe that the body itself is really powerful. Not in a “channeling demons” way but in terms of what it can do; how it helps us communicate without ever speaking.
So when I think about dancing, I understand why it has always been so integral to culture. Without ever knowing it, we associate dancing with freedom. So even though a night on the town is probably not what one needs after a stressful week of open-eyed sleep and coffee highs, we go out dancing. We love how it feels to let out all the anxious energies we’ve been storing up. No matter the form of dancing, whether “vulgar” or “chaste,” the experience is always liberating.
I wish I were a formidable dancer.
I mean, I can sway, do various forms of the two-step, move my hips to the drums a little but I have not the poise, strength and flexibility that one would need for ballet, hip hop, or the vibrant shakes of African dance. So when I listened to Alan Watts’ reading of “If Money Was No Object,” I couldn’t help but think, what if talent was no object? I think we live in a time now when a lot of people have the freedom (although many people don’t: student loans, social immobility etc.) to pursue creative and other fiscally impractical paths. Evidently, money isn’t the only object.
What I love about dancing is the freedom and spirituality that is inherent to it. How independent of place and time it is. But I know it’s not the only thing that has these characteristics. What’s one other thing that’s a freeing and spiritual act? What’s the thing I can do that will bring me joy and peace? How can I find the freedom I seek? *Drumroll, trumpet, xylophone* WRITING!
So that’s where we are now.
I am not yet 100% sure that I want to spend the rest of my life writing stories but it’s definitely the one thing I see myself doing and feeling fulfilled. I sometimes go as far as saying that I was “called” to tell stories simply because of just how animated I get when I do tell them. One of the best months of my life was when a professor told me that I had the “writing gene,” then I – in virtually the same breath – won an award for fiction. But that was some months ago, and the high has worn off. Several conversations with my mother and myself have left me a little disillusioned with being a writer. What if I run out of ideas? What if I’m actually not that great and end up writing obituaries for a living? What will I do when I get bored and start writing stories about being bored? You know, those stories that wax poetic about art? I want to write stories about people who live vibrant lives, and I can only do this if I myself am living a vibrant life. I will definitely write in some capacity, but I also want to live a life full of adventure, a life full of learning, and a life full of active service. I know that if I write the stories that I feel directed to write, they will affect someone. But I’d like to be more proactive in having an impact on people’s lives rather than saying my peace through a keyboard and some paper and expecting the rest to work itself out. How can I do that? How do we work with all the objects limiting/raising us: money, familial responsibility, talent, our duty to society; to decide how we would like to spend the rest of our lives? Will I ever be able to find freedom in my work?
The answer to my questions are probably as such: Yes, Kanyin, you will find freedom in your work. Yes, you will live a vibrant life as servant. No, your stories will not be boring if you make the effort to experience as many things as is possible. Whenever people ask me what I’d like to do in the future, I always answer that I don’t know. But that’s only to avoid giving such a complicated response as you will now read. Currently, I am working on graduating from UCLA with degrees in English and Economics. I am studying these two disparate fields because they will both address my goal of understanding people: their motives, their thought process, their beat. After this, I will pursue degrees in Law (J.D) and English (PhD) because nothing controls people’s actions like the law; and so that I can – if I decide to – teach the thing I’m passionate about: Literature. What I intend to do is – using this understanding – work with different people to improve the education system and the economy of Nigeria, while simultaneously writing stories that subtly change the world’s understanding of my home country. There’s no name for such a career right now, but I know that each of these goals will be realized by future Kanyin. And I can’t wait to meet her.
Post Submitted by Kanyin
It is my firm belief that everyone should read a mystery novel at least once—and if I had to recommend one mystery novel, it’d definitely be Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Arguably her best novel of the sixty-six she penned during her lengthy career, And Then There Were None is a quick but intense read that will keep you riveted from start to finish.
As the title suggests, this story follows ten guests who have been invited to an island villa and are killed off one by one. There is no one else on the island, only the ten characters—so one of them has to be the killer—but who is the murderer? Even after everyone is dead, you still won’t know. But don’t worry, the culprit leaves a letter behind to explain everything at the very end.
What is so remarkable about Christie’s novel, and particularly this one, is that she actually provides her readers all the clues we need to solve the mystery. After reading it once, I went back and read again, and sure enough, the clues were right there in plain sight.
So take a few hours to read this book; you won’t regret it!
Still not convinced? Here’s a more detailed summary from Amazon:
Considered the best mystery novel ever written by many readers, And Then There Were None is the story of 10 strangers, each lured to Indian Island by a mysterious host. Once his guests have arrived, the host accuses each person of murder. Unable to leave the island, the guests begin to share their darkest secrets–until they begin to die.
Post submitted by Michelle