Going Transparent

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TRIGGER WARNING: Domestic Violence. Discretion advised.
In our new Digital Era, society has us all thinking that we should constantly be updating our status, telling all our friends/followers where we are, what we are eating, etc. However, Google has given us another way to do this without really having to go online and type/post what it is you are doing today…you can live stream it.

I just found a website in where a woman decided to “share her day through Google Glass.” The website features a video of a woman’s entire day from beginning to “tragic” end, for this woman’s life is not ordinary but instead she is a victim of domestic violence.

Although this is not something that we might have expected to become witnesses to, it really makes one think about where our future is headed. Technology isn’t all bad, it can be used to spread awareness, find/catch criminals, etc. Yet, one can also argue the contrary.

Watch the video and tell me what you guys think. Tune in later for my opinion on this topic and other issues that arise out of our advancement in technology and social media.


Brainstorming for Final Project

Privacy is Theft

This semester I am taking a Digital Humanities course in where I have had the pleasure of reading many articles and one book in particular “The Circle.” As part of the class, I now must choose a final project topic. I want to take the option of writing a critical piece for my final project. I want to concentrate on one of two things: privacy and education. Many of my classmates know that I am very interested in how our privacy rights are slowly being challenged in this new digital era. In “The Circle,” we saw the aphorism of “Privacy is Theft,” yet what does this really mean in today’s society? What is privacy? What does it entail? Things like filling out our full name, birthdays, and email addresses, have become so mundane to us that we don’t realize that we are constantly giving out our information to random third-party strangers.

Also, education is something that plays a major role in my life (my mother and aunts are teachers) and I want to see how incorporating technology into the ordinary classroom would either be a positive contribution or negative contribution to learning. Andre Sayegh, the 6th Ward Councilman for the City of Paterson, NJ (who is also running for Mayor of Paterson in the upcoming elections) posted an article recently about how students have been missing out on school so much due to all the snow storms this winter. However, he proposes that with the help of technology, we can remediate this problem by having online classes on days in where it is too dangerous for students/parents travel to school/work. What repercussions can this have? And will it really remediate the problem?

These are all questions that I am truly taking into consideration as I think more in depth about where I want my critique paper to go. If anyone has any ideas or can contribute to that which I have already written above please comment below. I would love to hear what people have to say about these touching issues in today’s society.


Technology & My Family

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What was once considered a luxury, is now a necessity.

Whether we want to admit it, or not, technology is all around us. It has become our way of life – our future.


This I Believe

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“If I have one operating philosophy about life, it is this: ‘Be cool to the pizza delivery dude; it’s good luck.'” — Sarah Adams

I never would’ve thought to read something like this. If there is one thing that life has taught me, it sure is that you learn something new everyday. After becoming an Orientation Coordinator for the New Student Orientation Program at St. John’s University, I was invited to attend a conference called NODA in San Antonio, TX. I, along with co-workers, attended this 3-day conference and had a blast. However, I came across this book at the conference and couldn’t resist but to want to read it. I asked my boss about the book and if he had heard of it, and he stated that I must read it. Coming back home from the conference, I began to read the book. It was the best decision I could have ever made. The thing is that I never really put much thought into that which I valued or believed in. No one asked. So I didn’t bother to think about it. But this book changed that. It made me want to think deeply about those things I truly cared about and valued in life. It made me ask the questions of: Who am I? What am I fighting for? Thanks to this book, I now have my answers.

Here is my own “This I Believe” Essay:

My father once told me, “You ask too many questions.” That is when I realized what kind of person I truly was and still am, on some level. I have a very doubting, questioning mind. I like to get to the bottom of things and have answers to every question. However, life taught me a lesson and that lesson was, there are just some questions that can’t be answered or that have no answer to them. When my father ended up in the hospital and diagnosed with renal failure, questions raced through my head: Why my father?, How did this happen?, Who is to blame? But these questions went unanswered for a long time, even until this day. I now know that life is very often unfair and that bad things happen to the most innocent and undeserving individuals. It is because of this that I gained a huge respect for life. A long time ago, I was in the very bottom of a deep black hole with no exit strategy. But I was able to find the light. I was able to see and realize that I had my whole life ahead of me and I was not ready to leave yet. My father’s situation helped me reconfirm my beliefs and see how precious life really is. How one must live life everyday as if it were their last.

I believe in family, love, and respect. My family is the best thing in my life. One can’t choose who their family is composed of; however, I love them with all of their flaws. They are the best thing in my life. They are my cheerleaders. Without them I don’t know where I would be. My husband is the second best thing in my life. He is my motivator, my head cheerleader, my inspiration, and the person whom I love the most. He showed me the value of family. He showed me that one can’t expect to go through life alone. Lastly, respect, because in life you have to respect people actions, decision, religions, just about everything. I truly believe that one goes a long way with respect. My father taught me that. He was the most respectful person, I could’ve met. He could make anyone’s bad day a good one with a friendly smile. Because of this, my father is very well loved.

Hence, because of all this I strive to be the best person I can be in world, helping as many people as I can. Being kind and striving for social justice are high priorities for me. Life is the most valuable thing we as individuals have. Why not make the best of it by helping those who need our help the most? This I believe.


My Father vs. Me

Ever heard of the cliche what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger ?
I have, and that is sort of the way that I feel at this point in time in my life. I cannot even begin to describe all the things that I am currently juggling and sometimes I even ask myself how in the world am I capable of doing it all; nevertheless, I am.

I guess that from my that point of view you can say that I take on from my father because he is the most hard working person I have met in my entire life. Although I might not always agree with the way that he approached certain situations and how he set his priorities – I am undoubtedly his follower and look up to him as a role model for living my life.

Aside from being a full time student, I am also a full time wife, daughter, older sister, and maintain three different part-time jobs. I come home every day from school and begin to attend to my husband. Although my husband is not a very needy man and he is actually quite helpful, supportive, and understanding, we take turns doing chores and I have to keep my side of the bargain. Aside from that routine I also help out my mom at home, I look after my two younger brothers, sometimes cook dinner, but mostly help them out with their homework. There isn’t a day in my life in where I am busy in some type of way, shape, or form – but who isn’t these days?

However, no matter how busy I am–whether it is because I am tending to my family, working, or doing some homework–I still manage and that is the thing that I pride myself in. Commitment to me is a huge word in my life. The people who know me and attest to the fact that I am the type of person who never goes back on my word, if I told you I was going to get something done by such date I make sure that I do. This is exact definition of who my father was as a person. Growing up he was the biggest role model in my life and I aspired to be like him everyday. But then again, my father wasn’t really present throughout the majority of my childhood – so why is it that I ended up to look up to him so dearly? This is a question that I have been trying to answer my entire life. My mother isn’t this type of person whatsoever. She constantly goes back on her words and I find her be a very unreliable person in some aspects, but in others she a very strong woman, for she has raised me and my brothers alone. So then how is it that I ended up being the person that I am today?

There isn’t a day that passes by in where I am not reminded of how I look and act so much like my father in all aspects (temper, personality, problem-solving ways, etc.). Therefore, I feel as if I am fighting to break lose from this constant comparison of, oh you can do this because your father could do it too. Thus, you may be able to understand my dilemma.

However, in the end I can only imagine myself like the kid from the “Tootsie Pop” Commercial – “The world may never know!”

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A recent picture of my father and I


Freshman Orientation

This summer I had the most amazing opportunity not only to spend weeks with a group of the most amazing people but also accompany my younger brother into the most important step of his life: high school.

Over the course of my sophomore year I went through a long but fun process of becoming an Orientation Leader for St. John’s University. After weeks of attending the training, I got a letter that stated that I was being wait-listed for the job. I thought to myself that maybe I wasn’t cut out for it and that I should just dedicate my summer to what I like to do best: read and write. Soon afterwards, I got a phone call from my step-mother. My father wasn’t doing too well health-wise and I took the decision of flying to Florida to visit him for the summer. I was with him for a month, but it was a very long, stressful, emotional, and worrying month. I deeply believe in the saying that: everything happens for a reason, and for that reason I wasn’t too upset about being wait-listed.

I was with my father for approximately a month before I decided that it was time to go back home, handle some personal stuff (my brother’s graduation) and then fly back with my brother to stay the rest of the summer alongside my dad.

Two-days! I was in NJ for only two days when I get the most exciting, scary, yet amazing and god-given phone call.
“Hey Stephanie!”
“Are you still thinking about becoming an Orientation leader?”
“Can you move in tomorrow?”
I was speechless, motionless, and burning up with gratitude and excitement. When I finally did answer the questions asked to me, it was unbelievable. I had completely given up on the dream of ever becoming an Orientation leader. I mean it was my second time applying and they had already rejected me once and wait-listed me the other. I couldn’t believe it. At that moment, no matter how excited I was I thought to myself: What about my brother’s graduation, my husband, my dad?

I had to make a choice. My ultimate life dream or my family. It was a tough decision and thinking back on it – I hope I didn’t make the wrong choice, but being so young and having such an understanding and loving family they told me to take it, and I did! They knew that all I ever wanted was a chance – a chance to prove myself, to show others what I am capable of, and this was my chance.

I got to meet some of the most amazing people in my life. I got to learn so many things and I grew – spiritually, mentally, physically, you name it – but I grew.

So accompanying my brother to his freshman orientation for high school showed me where I had started off from and where I am now.
It showed me that for once in my life I had done something right for me – I had to chose between the two things that matter the most to me and I am happy.

Lesson learned: It isn’t always bad to think of yourself. Sometimes putting yourself first is what majestic happy.

With all of that being said, my brother’s freshman orientation was so lacking that I began to think – what if I can now make a difference?

It wasn’t too long afterwards that my bosses at St. John’s University opened up the possibility of becoming an Orientation Program Coordinator. I was hesitant at first because I said to myself I had already seconded my family once and it didn’t feel right doing it again. But with much pressure from both friends, family, and colleagues, I decided to give it a try.

With the motivation and drive of wanting to make a difference, I finally handed in my application to become an Orientation Program Coordinator. I am now anxiously, awaiting the results…

P.S. (Update 9/12/13): I am proud to say that I have now been given the title of Orientation Program Coordinator – and I couldn’t be any happier.


“The Great Gatsby”

Someone once asked: “Did the American Dream die in 2008, or did it die in 1920s–or did it even really exist at all?

In 2008, the United States economy hit a recession. Many lost their jobs and became unemployed and many others were forced to become homeless. After January 2008, the unemployment rate skyrocketed to an extreme high of 10% in October 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not to mention all the undocumented workers who also lost their jobs but were left unaccounted for. For many, the “American Dream” vanished right before their eyes and for others, like myself, it became harder to get by financially. So what is left to be said about the “American Dream” now? Does it no longer exist? Or did it never really exist?

In The Great Gatsby, the “American Dream” represents independence and the ability to make something of one’s self with hard work; however, it ends up being more about one’s materialistic selfishness and the pursuit of pleasure and [sexual] satisfaction. As recently reproduced by Warner Bros. Pictures along with director Baz Luhrmann, the new film adaptation of the 1925 novel, shows us a man, Jay Gatsby (Di Caprio) who works hard and has a lot of money but no matter how much money he has, no amount of hard work can change where Gatsby came from.The novel and film adaptation alike  pinpoint this reality and demonstrate that hard work sometimes just isn’t enough and so the American Dream, for Gatsby at least, collapses right before his eyes.

But what does the “American Dream” really consist of and is it attainable?

The “American Dream” for many is described as the ability to own a house, a car, have a spouse and the 2.5 children (boy, girl, and pet). For others, the “American Dream” means so much more. For example, to me the “American Dream” means the ability to be able to move freely in the social class without barriers, the ability to make something of myself without anyone telling me that I can’t, the freedom that this country provides me with that other countries do not for their citizens; that to me is the “American Dream”. I want to be able to become a lawyer or a businesswoman no matter how or where I grew up. But unfortunately life isn’t that simple. For Jay Gatsby, no amount of hard work could change his past – merit and work were just not enough and so the “American Dream” collapses.

So where does that leave me now? Where does it leave us?

Of course, it leaves me with a chill up and down my spine with the fear that one day (pessimistically thinking) I may not be able to become the person that I truly want to be. However, unlike the novel and the film, I cannot let those social barriers bring me down. I cannot let society tell me what I can and cannot do. I will fight for what I believe in and in doing so prove everyone, who ever told me otherwise, wrong. Therefore, I would like to end with a quote

Challenges make you more responsible. Always remember that life without struggle is a life without success. Don’t give up and learn not to quit no matter what comes your way.