I Need You

Maurice White was a singer-songwriter and musician born in 1941 who later founded the band, “Earth, Wind & Fire.” Music invigorated White from a young age. When he was in high school he formed his own small band and later went on to attend the Chicago Conservatory of Music. He began to find fame when he began drumming for for Chess Records, where he played on the records of rising artists. He went on to win seven Grammys a huge accomplishment.

Some of his greatest hits were “Let’s Groove,” “Shining Star,” and “September.” These songs and his overall career was known for his ability to create an uplifting atmosphere that really touched the hearts of his audience. Almost every demographic loved Maurice for the way that his songs uplifted all of their spirits. The young, the old, and people of every race and gender admired him. One of his greatest legacies was Paul Raven, a man that Maurice worked with and paved his way to become a rising star. Paul Raven had no public fame and Maurice was able to turn him into one of the most well known singers of their time.

One of my favorite songs that Maurice wrote was one named “I Need You” with these lyrics-

I can take a woman or leave her alone
Temporary lovers come and go
You’re the only woman that I’ve ever known
Who’s got me losing control
Oh, I don’t want to dream about you
Or wonder where are you
Oh, I wish my heart could beat without you
But have I gone too far

You say, I need you
You think that I need all the love you’re giving
And I need you
‘Cause living alone isn’t really living at all

Never planned to make love a permanent thing
Keeping my emotions on the side
Kinda like my life just the way that it’s been
Girl, I’m taking my time
Oh, I don’t want to miss you baby
But that’s the hardest part
Oh, I’m trying to resist you baby
But have I gone too far

You say, I need you
You think that I need all the love you’re giving
And I need you
‘Cause living alone isn’t really living at all

Who decides which one we love
Or when we’re going to fall
I don’t need two hands to hold
Two lips to whisper

I need you
Like the air that I breathe through an open window
I need you
I can’t let you leave and I won’t pretend no more

I particularly enjoy this song, because Maurice perfectly defines and encapsulates what it feels like when you are really in love with someone. He is able to allow the audience to feel the sort of addiction that people feel when they’re in love. Despite the desperate tone of the song, the uplifting background music and beat of the song fills my soul with happiness when I listen to it. It really forces the audience to not only understand the lyrics but to feel the emotions associated with it. I think that Maurice perfectly describes what it means to be in love. The lyrics describe someone who is so in love with another person that he feels like he actually needs her. It’s no longer something he wants, but something he needs. He describes his need for her the same way he needs “air” and finally ends with the statement that he cannot let her leave him because all he needs in life is her love.

    Maurice touched the hearts of so many people to this day, and has left a legacy that will be unforgotten. The atmosphere of his music and the way that it can brighten anyone’s mood is irreplaceable and will continue to live on. 

One Down, One to Go

The first semester has finally come to a close, and it’s time to reminisce over the positives, the negatives, and the “meh.” Honestly, my first semester of AP English III went a lot better than expected. I came into the class thinking that the workload was going to smack me in the face (like most of my other classes); however, I actually managed to make it through with only a few breakdowns here and there. I was very surprised at the way we handled analysis of literature which was much different from English II. We took a more collaborative approach with more people throwing out more ideas and perceptions through their own analysis. This was very helpful because I learned some new things that I could have never thought of on my own that completely changed my perception on some of the literature that we were reading. I particularly enjoyed our group presentations because of this reason. They were engaging and allowed each person the unique opportunity to voice their own opinions.

I felt like I was able to keep up with due dates and manage my time pretty well. I felt like I progressively got better on my timed writings as I looked at the comments from past essays and attempted to learn from my mistakes. Most of my test scores were satisfactory and I felt that overall my skill on essays improved over the course of the semester with some deviations.

One thing that did not go as well as I planned was my time management on reading literature. This was something I struggled with through freshman year. I would always promise myself to start early so I could gain a complete understanding of whatever we were reading; however, I was ended up cram-reading the book two nights before the test or essay. This often left me stressed and with a shallow understanding of what I was reading. The difference really showed in my test scores between books that I did read ahead of time, and books that I crammed last-second. Also, I felt like I did not make corrections on every single time writing I took by using past mistakes and comments and avoiding those. Even though I did read through comments on my essays, sometimes under the pressure of time I completely forgot all of the improvements that I was planning to make.

There are many ways that I can improve on the issues I mentioned. For ending my habit of reading-procrastination, the only solution is simply to manage my time better. I am an extremely busy person between music, debate, and schoolwork which is why it is necessary to set out a small portion of each day (even if it is just half an hour) to read the book without distraction. Even if I don’t have two to three hours to read the novel, spreading it out over time in short increments is still better than cram reading the night before. In order to improve my timed writings, I think it would be beneficial to first write down a couple bullet points on my pre-writing of some of the major issues that have taken down the score on my other tests. This way I can refer back while writing my essay, and I don’t have to deal with the stress of remembering what I was planning on implementing in my new essay.

With all that being said, the first semester was very enjoyable, and despite the business of the spring, I can’t wait for all of the new surprises and challenges ahead.

 

 

 

 

The first post I read was from http://www.hsueji.wordpress.com/ who wrote about a time when a man working at a car dealership took time out of his day to build a bond with the author and her brother. This post caught my eye because I find it really heart warming when people don’t just try to get through the day but rather take time to brighten everyone else’s day up. If more people were like this the world would be a happier place.

The second post I read was from http://www.headbeaninchargeblog.wordpress.com/. She wrote about her wide variety of nicknames and how she attained each of them. But the reason why it really caught my eye was because she talked about how these nicknames actually further impacted her life or how they represented things that did impact her life.

The third post I read was from http://www.darthparthvader.wordpress.com/. He analyzed the message behind “The Great Gatsby” and pointed out the differences that existed between this book and traditional literature that usually presents moral messages. This post caught my eye because of the “Great Catsby” memes at the beginning of the blog post.

After reading three articles about Gatsby, I found it interesting how the fame of Fitzgerald’s novel began. Most people would expect the rise in fame to be due to the unique qualities of Fitzgerald’s work; however, during the time when the book was published, the rise in profit was actually due to armies giving their soldiers the book as a way to pass the time. Moreover, it was surprising that nobody really liked the book at first because they felt that it was directed towards their “party lifestyles”. What stood out to me in NPR’s article was that there were striking similarities between Fitzgerald’s own life and the life of the character, Gatsby, that he created. This also mirrors the concept of fate in the book. Just like how Gatsby is trying to change his own fate by throwing massive parties, Fitzgerald tries to control his fate by creating a doppelganger of himself in a fictional book.

What also stood out to me was a darker secret behind Fitzgerald’s success. Organizations like the Council on Books in Wartime sent out millions of copies of the book. However, later the article explains that this was problematic because women and minority authors were often ignored by organizations like these. This highlights the treatment of women’s and minorities during this time which can also be corroborated by Fitzgerald’s own novel which included exploitation of women as well as physical violence against women. Fitzgerald’s novel highlighted some salient social issues exacerbated in his era.

The Best Club Around

I stroll down the aisle of sweets, listening to my stomach growl as we pass by each pastry. My 9-year old brother clutches my hand pulling me forward pointing at the direction of the “exit” sign of the large Sam’s Club supermarket. I rolled my eyes ignoring his requests to leave as I returned my attention back to much more important things like the three rows of Hostess cakes in front of me. However, he failed to give up and dragged me away from the aisle towards the exit sign.

“What are you doing?” I questioned him.

“I want to see Corina!” he exclaimed.

“Corina…who?” I asked wondering if this was another imaginary friend phase he developed. Suddenly, his eyes lit up as a small, elderly woman wearing a blue Sam’s Club vest walked towards us with a small name tag that read “Corina.” My brother ran up to her and they embraced as she patted his head and greeted him. I was extremely confused, wondering how this random employee was somehow my brother’s new BFF. She introduced herself to me and explained that she saw my brother all the time at the supermarket, and they would periodically have conversations like a pair of good old friends. She then proceeded to give him a quarter so he could roll it down a ramp and through the funnel of a charity collection machine near the exit.

As we left the store, with my brother clearly happy from reuniting with his old friend Corina, I was shocked. This lady who could have just gone about doing her job and ignoring customers took time out of her day to actually build a friendship (even as annoying as my brother could be sometimes). She genuinely enjoyed her job and satisfying the customers because not only could I tell my brother was happy from the encounter but so was she.  After this experience I realized the importance of not simply getting through the day, but finding joy in everything we do. Even if she only was able to have a conversation every once in a while with my brother, I could tell it made all the difference.

 

Swiper, no swiping!

One of my favorite childhood memories was lazy days where I would spend the entire afternoon watching my favorite television shows on our one channel: PBS Kids. From “Sesame Street” to “Fetch,” I would never get tired of the endless interactive hours I would spend yelling out responses to Elmo’s questions or starting a casual conversation with Ruff Ruffman. The reasons why these were my favorite memories varied, but most possibly it was because I was an introvert and would rather have one-sided conversations with the television than with a friend.

But, one of my favorite (arguably most favorite) shows was Dora, and unlike most kids whose favorite characters would be Dora, or the Map, my favorite character was Swiper. I admired him for his stealth in fooling Dora even though he always got caught in the end (which I thought was unfair). My mother would always walk into the living room yelling at the T.V. in frustration when Swiper was caught, or  chanting the line “Swiper, no swiping!” while marching towards the T.V. Eventually the name caught on my parents began to call me Swiper to my pleasure. I’m not exactly sure what this has to say about me as my own parents called by the name of a fox who also more importantly was a thief, but none of that mattered to me. I was just glad I could defend and represent my favorite character: Swiper.

A Fighter

Empress Meongseong, or Queen Min, was born on October 19, 1851 in Yeoju, South Korea. Although she “was an orphan at the age of eight,” her family had strong connections to the royal family (about). This led to her eventually marrying King Gojong of the Josean Dynasty when she was only sixteen. Her husband’s father Taewongun selected Meongseong as his son’s wife specifically because she was an orphan and did not have strong family connections that would threaten his political power (about). Despite, the entirety of the Korean empire expecting her to be a timid, follower as they expected all of the other empresses to be, she refused to be complacent with these unfair demands, she stood up for herself  and fought for her own political power.

From the start, Queen Min took the initiative to solidify her power by actively placing members of her family into “high court offices” (about). She took a strong role in voicing her opinion in politics while her “weak-willed” husband continued to allow his father to rule even when he legally became an adult (about). This in itself showed a huge shift in traditional gender roles where males held higher power than females. Finally when King Gojong stepped up, this unfortunately occurred during a time of increased tension with Japan. Representatives from Meiji Japan appeared urging Korean officials to pay tribute. Despite attempts to remove them, King Gojong broke down and signed a deal with the much-hated Japanese. On the other hand, Queen Min wasn’t so easily persuaded. She continuously urged the cutting off of ties with the Japanese. Eventually, Gojong signed another treaty, the “Ganghwa Treaty” which was a huge detriment for Korea. Japan was able to have access to multiple ports, while Korea essentially got nothing out of the treaty confirming Queen Min’s opinions on whether they should cut off ties. The Queen tried to change traditional values in Japan by allowing freedom of religion which angered many politicians in Korea. Eventually, Japan saw her power and assassinated her in 1895 ending her reign. Although Queen Min’s attempts  to assert her own power as a woman took a downturn, she began a movement in the direction in more political equality for woman. She fought for herself during a time where everyone told her she was incapable of doing so, and in the end put forth the values we should all appreciate today.

 

http://asianhistory.about.com/od/southkorea/p/Queen-Min-of-Korea.htm

10 Great People You Should Know But Don’t

Sleepless Nights

Usually when we think of the weekends, we associate them with sleeping in, relaxing, hanging out with friends, and usually being stress-free. However, after joining the debate team freshman year, my weekends aren’t quite the same. When I think of tournament-weekends now, I guess the connotation of how I describe my weekends would be just a little bit different. Now, a few ways to describe those weekends would be no sleep, stress, researching until 3 a.m., oh and can’t forget to mention our nutritious meals of Whataburger and candy (the cheapest and most accessible option). While this may not sounds pleasant whatsoever, I still would consider Speech & Debate and attending these tournaments as one of my favorite hobbies.

Of course there are some negative aspects as mentioned above, but since it is a hobby, obviously there’s more to it than just that. I enjoy it because it’s one of the most rewarding experiences. It’s one of those things where you reap what you sow and you get out what you put in. So even if it make take an extra few all-nighters, you get the experiences of self-improvement and succeeding with your teammates. Also, the traveling aspect of tournaments can be fun other than the weekly fight over who gets the aux chord, and the sighs of annoyance when some teammates play another song from the Hamilton soundtrack. However, all of this creates a somewhat bonding experience. One of the best feelings is seeing yourself and your team improve throughout the course of a year.

Another rewarding aspect of these tournaments, is the thrill you feel right before you go into a round. During the round, you feel all of the adrenaline pushing you through, and afterwards comes the relief. Although Speech & Debate has significantly contributed to my sleep deprivation, it’s definitely one of my hobbies with memories I’ll never forget.

Our Future Leader

The upcoming election in November will be arguably one of the most controversial and divided. Although it may be easy to default to whatever political side you were taught to support, it is very important to remember that the person being elected is more than just a representation of a political party, but he/she is a representation of each and every American and the values we stand for as an American citizen. So, it is just as important to consider what type of policies the candidate will be supporting and their stance on controversial issues as it is to consider their personality and whether they possess presidential qualities.

One of the most important qualities I look for in a candidate is humility. It is essential for the future president to be able to back away from the campaign and instead understand the perspective of the average American voter. By being able to put oneself in the average American’s shoes, the future president should be able to identify some common domestic issues we face such as wealth inequality and the need for mental health care. This is one of the main values we have as Americans which is encapsulated by democracy. Running the country means representing the people and realizing what the wishes of the people are. The president must be able to identify with the citizens and understand some of the harsh situations we face.

Another quality is an open mind. Although the race to the election in November is becoming increasingly divisive, gaining the support of a certain group of people is not an excuse to put another group of people down. As Americans we stand for the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech and the value of granting everyone an equal opportunity. Personally, I do not like candidates that are not only ignorant but stubborn in changing their opinion when many find it to be offensive. While it is important that candidates support what they believe in and don’t “flip-flop” around political issues just to gain votes, it is equally important for the candidate to have an open mind and be able to understand and represent every single American no matter what race, gender, or religion.

The future of America will rest in either one of these candidates’ hands. That is why we must take this election seriously and focus on what type of person we want to be our president and what type of person we want to represent who we are as people that stand for an American system where everyone is treated equally.

 

Soul-Searching

While it’s easy to point out our many flaws (we think about them almost every second of the day), turn it around and it’s almost impossible to write a three-paragraph blog post over the positive characteristics of ourselves. In this way, I guess everyone has at least one good characteristic to start out with: humility. However, after a deep self-evaluation I’ve managed to come up with some others.

First, I tend to always see the the good side in people. My friends have questioned me multiple times about why I befriend the people I do asking daily “why do you hang out with that person?” Although it might be mind-boggling to some why I choose to associate myself with the people I do, the answer is really quite simple. I always identify the good side in people even if their entire reputation is built on being bad. While in certain circumstances, this ability may instead come off as naivité, I believe that instead it has allowed me to discover a whole new side in people that in turn lets me learn more about myself. Some of the people that I talk to that may have the worst reputations have ended up being some of my closest friends that I have learned to trust the most. Overall, this has helped me become a more objective person. I don’t judge others very often based off of what other people tell me, and this has lead to my discovering of the true character of these people with “bad reputations,” and even better it has helped me learn more about myself.

My tendency to find the good side in people even when everyone tells me to default to the bad, has other effects that materialize not only in school and around my friends. We live in a hyper-judgmental society. People are viewed differently because of the implicit biases and values we are taught to learn from a young age. You’re judged on your sexuality, your appearance, your intelligence, your income, whether you’ve been to a “good college,” how many friends you have, and so many other things that when looking back at it don’t seem as important as others make it out to be. However, since I always tend to find the good side in people, this allows me to empathize with those that are judged also. In other words, I avoid accepting society’s over-arching generalizations of certain groups of people. This means that I tend to look at the totality of circumstances, what a person goes through, what certain environment they grew up in, and what may have caused them to become the way they are rather than just stamping a generalization on them. This is something I think our society needs to work on as a whole. We need to understand that not everyone is born in the same circumstances (some are disadvantaged while others aren’t), and we need to learn how to create empathy: something that our world lacks.