Reflection #2

My English class assignments have made me feel like a growing blogger. We have blogged about a variety of diverse topics ranging from short stories, articles, poems to ads, games and a lot more. I feel as if I can now write about various topics in a tone and manner that best suits that topic. Being introduced to the concept of Logos, Ethos and Pathos, I started to include them in everything I did. I tried to make my writing appealing to the audience. As I progressed with my blogs I continuously tried to improve through the comments I got from my monthly blog reviewers in class and started adding rhetorical questions, quotes, references to my sources and videos that I got ideas from.

Being from an Indian school following the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) curriculum I didn’t come in with any credits and our curriculum didn’t really include critically analyzing texts and literary pieces. So this felt like a good experience because it has developed deductive and analytical skills in me. This in turn has also transformed me into a better reader. I had a hard time summarizing texts before, but the whole technique of skimming; taking notes etc has helped me come a really long way as a reader. I am now a more perceptive reader, even while watching a movie I now try to analyze the plots whereas before I’d just go with the flow and understand what happened in the end. Hence I appreciate the experience that the class and its assignments along with the interactions have given me.

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Reflection #1

The four blogs that I chose to revise were: –
• Text message based socializing vs face-to-face socializing.
• Life skills Institute, a contribution to my community.
• Comparison between high-school literature and the Adventure of The Cardboard Box.
• Code switching : an unconscious stimulus

As I was reading through my blog posts on the class blog, I was actually feeling happy remembering how I was first introduced to blogging in this English class and now I have about 13 blogs on my page. However after reading the blogs above I felt as if they were lacking examples and a lot more facts and incidents could be added to them. I felt as if the socializing blog could use a lot more material about Facebook, Inneract and Crowdpilot and in the end I wanted to establish a complimentary relationship between them. I also realized that I could add more incidents of me seeing signs of poverty in India and attempted to do that in the second blog about the institute. I also talked about the projects that the students came up with and their personal feedbacks. I also felt that while comparing my high school literature I could definitely include the other works my school focused on and provide a better comparison with a more personal perspective and communicate that to people who like short readings as well. My last one about code switching seemed to need more quotes from the videos I saw about code switching and get more examples.

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Revised blog # 4: Code Switching: An Unconscious Stimulus

Have you ever noticed a person talk in a particular tone and then suddenly change his entire body language along with his tone of speaking? Well, in my English class I learned that there actually is a term for that and it is called code switching. At first, the word “code-switching” seemed like a term used by computer science majors but it actually refers to a situation where a person changes his tone of speaking according to the situation he/she is put in. Sometimes, most people can see this as a “fake” act and conclude that someone who code-switches has a fake personality. People probably develop this notion because they have a set impression of a person’s personality and when they see a different side of their personality, they feel surprised and draw such conclusions.

In class, we were shown an episode of the show Key & Peele that gave us an insight on how people code switch. The episode shows us how Peele first talks to his wife in a courteous way about taking her to the movies for her birthday but as soon as Peele enters the scene saying, “Sup dawg?” to his friend on the phone, Key changes his tone and ends his conversation by saying “I’ll pick your ass up at 8”. The scene ends with Peele saying “Oh my god Kristin, I almost totally got mugged right now” in a rather scared tone. This scene makes me feel as if these two individuals were trying to show their superiority to each other in an attempt to fit in as two equals. The general public, after seeing this, would feel that the two were probably being fake in front of each other just to show dominance.

On the contrary, I feel that code switching is not always a fake act. Sometimes people just change their tone as an unconscious stimulus to the situation they are in. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that Key and Peele were unaware of what they were doing. I’m just expressing how most people do it unconsciously or with positive intentions. I can support my view through my own personal experiences and observations with code switching. I remember how back in high-school, our teacher used to maintain a very strict and grumpy behavior around us as opposed to the casual and joyful behavior in the staff room with the other teachers. This is a quite evident act of code switching but it doesn’t represent anything “fake” because she must have a professional demeanor towards us in order to maintain obedience. I am a Gemini and many people think of a Gemini as a multi-personality person. This is true because I have often noticed myself behaving differently with different people. I usually am anti-social around alien faces and will not be myself. However, with familiar people, I am my loud and weird self. I am energetic with people who party a lot and calm with people who just like to sit, chill, watch a movie or listen to good rock music. This was my way of unconsciously code-switching with different people even though my intentions are good.

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Revised blog post #3 :Comparison between high school literature and The Adventures Of The Cardboard Box.

Do you prefer reading short stories to novels and 500 page books? I don’t know about you, but I certainly do. For me long stories with 15-20 chapters get boring and loose my interest completely. Every time I have tried to finish a long novel I would leave it half way. All the literature that we were taught in High-school included works like Macbeth by Shakespeare, Hound of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, Adventures of Rusty by Ruskin Bond. These works were very interesting but at the same time they did not fail to put me to sleep and completely loose my Interest.

All you people who like short compilations or stories are probably going to enjoy The Adventure of the cardboard box by Arthur Conan Doyle. Unlike most of the other Sherlock Holmes stories that involve multiple destinations, clues, suspects and characters, This story is actually concise and has the right mix of suspense in it to cook up a great Sherlock Holmes story. The story quickly dictates the how exactly the mystery begins with miss Susan Cushing of Croydon receiving a package with two severed human ears preserved with salt. In this story the whole process of Sherlock using his deductive skills has been presented in a concise way. Holmes quickly deducts that the parcel had a spelling correction; hence the sender wasn’t really well educated. It just takes a few questions from miss Cushing and limited amount of observations that make him take a cable to Liverpool where miss Cushing’s sister Sarah lives. After being denied entry by the doctor he is convinced that the ears belong to miss Cushing’s other sister Mary whose estranged husband is the murderer. The story is plain and simple and still maintains the aura of the mystery.

My High-school literature has long chapters that over extended the content. I don’t mean to say that the authors failed to make their plots interesting. They were pretty interesting but they tend to come off as complicated for people like me who enjoy short readings more. Macbeth included a lot of scenes that went on longer than they needed to be or didn’t make sense. For example it simply seemed too easy for Macbeth’s wife to convince him that Duncan should be killed and he should take his place as king. The hound of the Baskervilles has Sherlock holms running from one place to another constantly, To many characters to analyze and what’s most disappointing to me is that Sherlock disappears for 4-5 chapters. After a point one starts to think “wait..what?” At least I do.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that, if you like short readings, The Adventure of The Cardboard Box is definitely a story for you. In comparison to my High-school texts, I enjoyed this way better.

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Revised blog #2: Life skills Institute, a contribution to my community.

Being an International student from India, I have witnessed how much India has progressed in the past 15 years. Although there is one issue that has stayed the same and that is the effect that poverty has on the youth of India. There is a vast majority of Indian population living in poverty and this leads to their youth being underprivileged. These underprivileged children don’t get access to the daily facilities and amenities that the middle class and upper class population get.

I saw signs of this everywhere I went. While going to school early in the morning, one can see poor people sleeping on the roads, without a roof on their head, with their little children crawled up near their chests to save themselves from the cold wind of the winter. Even when I was in class there were a few children in my class who were from poor families and they were always socially excluded. Some of those students weren’t fluent with English and so had problem during many of the classes conducted in English. Since majority of the Indian population today speaks fluent English, it was difficult for these kids to socialize with the rest of the class as well.

This made me want to take an initiative towards starting a program that helps these children keep up with the world in terms of technology, be able to communicate with others in English and also provide them some sort of financial support so that they can pay for their education. I decided to start an institute of my own under a trust fund that was ready to help me support this initiative. It took us about four months to set up the institute and we began classes for computer skills, life values and English as soon as we opened.

There were about 120 underprivileged children enrolled in the institute within a month’s time. After doing a full 6 month course with us in all 3 classes, these children progressed a long way. Students were now able to make their own graphical analysis in Economics using computer programs like excel. There was an immense improvement in their ability to read and write English and so these students started conducting research projects of their own. In my one on one meetings with students I have heard remarks like “I feel much more engaged in the classroom than I did before”, “I am able to connect with my peers a lot more than I did before”.

It feels nice to have achieved so much out of this project and feel that all community lovers like me should also take initiatives like this. Our aim was to be able to enhance the educational and school life of these children and by focusing on their weak points we were able to do so. These children have a more successful school life and can now more easily take this forward and get employed in order to support their families. The institute is currently still running in New Delhi, India and someday I plan to expand this even more once I graduate with an MBA degree.

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Revised blog 1: Text message based socializing vs face-to-face socializing

As all you social butterflies know, today there is an abundance of socializing platforms where people can meet, connect and enhance their social experience. But are you really using the right platforms? Can you say that you know the person you are talking to behind the computer screen? In most cases, no.

The most popular form of social media today is, you guessed it, Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg undoubtedly did a great job with the website. One can see where the other person is from, their photos, bio, day-to-day status updates, create events, pages and see almost everything a person is doing in his or her life (I don’t mean to say it promotes stalking). As active socializers, we get lost in the fascination caused by this whole socializing fiasco. We overlook the fact that people behind the screen are probably putting their best out and not really being themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to generalize the fact that everyone who socializes is not really himself or herself; I’m sure many are. But in many cases people’s personalities turn out to be completely different as compared to the personality they portray to have on facebook. A person being able to portray a specific persona is a big disadvantage of social sites like Facebook because they prevent face-to-face interaction. Even in the photos, people can pursue their social life to be really happening and outgoing where it actually might not be that way.

So, are their any social sites, platforms or apps that do promote face-to-face interaction? In my English class, I was recently introduced to two such applications invented by Lauren McCarthy. The first one is named Inneract and the second one is Crowdpilot. With inneract, people can actually have face-to-face interactions based on common interests with people around them. The video on the site show’s an old man sharing his meal with another person through the app. It includes other interactions like people just high-fiving each other on the road and even a person sharing his favorite song with someone. These meetings may seem really momentary but what if the two people who meet actually turn out to like each other and become friends? At least this won’t be a random friend request that you find in your notifications on Facebook. People will take their decisions about taking their relationship with a person further based on the actual ‘meeting’ they had with him or her.

Crowdpilot is an app that actually helps you not be socially awkward when having face-to-face interactions. Lets say you’re on a date with this girl that you really like but every time you meet her, you really can’t come up with anything to say. Crowdpilot allows you to get advice from others using that app or from your Facebook friends. McCarthy did some experiments with the app by herself. She went on blind dates with men and saw that the advice she got from people using the app was actually really helpful. People will tell you when you’re saying something that the other person may not really enjoy or like for example, you will get notifications telling you that “you are talking about your cat too much”, “ask him more about his life” or ”I think he likes you”.

In conclusion if eel that we should definitely socialize through Facebook, but at the same time apps like inneract and crowdpilot can boost our social experience to a whole new level. They allow us to actually get to see and know the person holding the phone or sitting behind the computer. They make your interactions meaningful. Also they eliminate the disadvantage of how Facebook prevents face-to-face interractons. Lets socialize the way it’s supposed to be done. Lets not hide behind the screen and lets actually meet.

Works cited

Gayomali, Chris. “This App Lets You Crowdsource Dating Advice… While You’re On Dates.” Fast Company. N.p., 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. .

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