Every blog needs a food post, right?

After feasting gluttonously for what seemed like a full week, I decided that upon turning 26, perhaps I should start eating a little better (after all, I’m not getting any younger… nor skinnier…).  So my latest pleasure has been scouring the web for deliciously healthy recipes that I can easily make.  Now I wish to bestow upon you all these delicious recipes (mainly because I have a blog and I do not use it much).  Just a warning, I only loosely follow measurements and recipes… it’s much more fun when you just wing it.  Also, most of these will be simplified because I do not have the patience (or taste) for diced onions, random herbs, or extra steps in preparing ingredients.  Basically, this is healthy food for lazy people. 😀



First off, I must give credit to the original recipe that I found: Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad

However, this is all I used:

I – (15.5 oz.) can of Garbanzo Beans (Drain and rinse)

2 – (5 or 6 oz.) cans of water-packed chunk light tuna (Drain and flake)

Capers, Cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese (as much as you like!)

2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Add lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper to taste 🙂

Enjoy on crackers, in pita bread, or on top of a bed of lettuce!

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Motivation Driven Education and the Global Society

A professor of mine has sparked an interest in me that I simply must share. As someone who has used the internet since AOL’s dialup tone opened our minds to the worldwide web, I’m a little embarrassed that I have not stumbled upon and embraced the internet for something as important as educating myself. I have in the past used youtube videos to try to learn languages and guitar chords, but it was not until my 25th year of life that I found a desire to just simply use the internet to teach myself things that I could learn in college courses. I’ve made myself a difficult path in the past and it has definitely taken it’s toll on my education, however, it was my self-inflicted hardships that forged me into the motivated young woman I am now. High school was a breeze and I was easily accepted into CSUF, but I definitely was not prepared for the learning structure and mostly the new found freedom I had. Many people can balance this out, however I could not. Well I stray from my point here, as I did my first few years of college, but the point is I’m ready to learn now and I want to learn as much as I possibly can in the fields that interest me most.

One night while trying to fall asleep I stumbled across iTunes U on my iPad, I was so excited about all the information and lectures from prominent schools that were at my fingertips all for free! Sure I would have no paper, certificate, course credit, or diploma to prove this wealth of knowledge that I intended to inherit, but that simply did not matter. I thought I had solved my problem that night of insomnia and would read myself to sleep with the online lectures, but it did the exact opposite! I was up for hours listening to lectures and seminars from prestigious schools and scholars. Later, I had a conversation with the professor who had really brought this “DIY education” to my attention. We had a conversation about how I was so confused on what I wanted to do with my life and career path while being only 3 courses away from graduating. As a professor, you might be surprised by her feelings towards traditional education, but I could not agree more. Our education simply does not prepare us for life or careers. We are just filled with knowledge, much of which is useless and does not interest us. We are not taught real, tangible skills that we can utilize in the workforce. I severely regret not diving into internships at a younger age. If only college forced you to do so right away! To really get out there and take life for a test drive before you sign up to take on thousands of dollars of debt in hopes that you will come out the other end with the right career for you! Anyways, I’ve been reading more and more into these alternative forms of education and get more and more excited for them! Stumbling across the Khan Academy, I knew instantly I had filled up my Spring Break schedule. I intend on getting my 9 year old brother on this website and encouraging him to really grow his knowledge base, but most importantly teach him how to be self-motivated and want to teach himself! Perhaps I could go speak at his school about the importance of seeking knowledge outside the realm of your schoolwork, which is mediocre at best.

A crucial thing to remember is that as our country is cutting the funding and demeaning the importance of education, we are falling more and more behind other parts of the world. They have access to all this free education, just like us, and many are embracing it because they may not have any other opportunities to be educated where they live. If we want to keep up in a global society we must seek knowledge besides what our country has outlined for us because it is severely lacking and often impractical.
I have no use for learning to take standardized tests or impractical knowledge. We need more applicable learning to prepare us for the world! How can we revolutionize this and own it?

The problem of our society currently is that we focus on the end goal; what we earn, not what was actually learned along the way. Most people go to school simply for the diploma, the bragging rights, and the hope of a well paying job despite our pitiful job market. We might ace our classes, but do we retain any worthwhile, applicable knowledge. Especially with general education requirements, often we don’t take the classes we want to. If we were to pursue the areas that interest us most and that we are most passionate about, we would learn more and most likely utilize it. I’d argue that this would also create a more productive world if we were encouraged to pursue fields that we feel most strongly for. I for one, have pushed out all the useless knowledge that I’ve taken in the past: science and math especially! I often find myself cursing my required work because I do not have enough time to learn about what I want to learn about!

There is an issue with self-motivation as well. Many people have no desire to learn or expand their knowledge base. There must be some way to give credit to those that do. Personally, if you take the time to learn something online in your free time for no course credit or certificate, that seems more impressive than someone who forces themselves through a program for a diploma or high salary. How can we reward and give recognition to these people? If I were hiring, I’d want someone who not only completed school, but also read and took the time to learn things simply because they wanted to. So as our world becomes more and more globally intertwined and education around the world becomes more diverse and open, how do we keep up with our current education system and mindset?

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Doing “good” is hard and can be very tricky at times.  We live in a capitalist society so any form of aid will have to also be some sort of profit driven organization.  Sure it would be nice if we could always do what is “right” and be able to do it for free, but that’s nearly impossible in this world.  Those who criticize, how did you bring awareness to an issue?  Also, we all are guilty of caring deeply for other human beings on this earth, but then going home to all of our material possessions, most of which are made by exploited laborers.  Quite frankly, you have to be rich to be able to purchase goods that aren’t the product of some sort of exploitation and to be that rich, most likely you are doing a little of the exploitation yourself.

So how do you go about making social change in this world?  I still remember an old teacher of mine telling me about TANSTAFL: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” and now, I think more than ever, this is true.  Nothing is free in this world, everything have a price-tag.  It’s not right, it’s unfortunate, but it IS.  So should I sit back with my hands tied and do nothing because most organizations do not give sufficient amounts of profits to their cause?  Or do I stand up and speak out on an issue.  We devalue the human mind and it’s curiosity; although this may not be an ideal organization, how many people knew about Joesph Kony or the Lord’s Resistance Army?  I for one, after seeing the video, was quite interested in the topic and began to research, which I hope many others do as well!  I won’t defend the organization entirely, but they are making money to do what they’ve done very effectively: marketing the movement.  Also, is the President of the United States wrong to send American advisers to aid the Ugandan Army?  Perhaps, but  I’m sure he knows slightly more about the situation and those involved than the average American.  Of course, the President is no saint and the United States is far from being saviors of the world.  We use unnecessary force and extreme militant action in my opinion, but things do get done… sometimes.

So how do you balance between obtaining a goal, but doing it the most pure way?  Is it possible?  Do such utopian forces exist?  Will they ever?  I propose that we move in that direction, but again, how much time and money do you have to put into such a noble cause?  Do we turn away when we are now aware of such evil and simply shrug it off because it couldn’t be done the ideal way?  If anything it is all of our own faults, it takes nicely edited videos and well constructed websites to get our attention and look legitimate, we LIKE those sort of things (Facebook can prove this!)  I do think it’s unfortunate that someone within the cause couldn’t donate their video making abilities and time, but from knowing people who do film and edit videos: it is very time consuming and very hard work!  You can’t just throw something together and have it look appealing in a short amount of time on a limited budget with cheap equipment.  So I think we should all remember the society, the global society even, that we live in: it is capitalist.  We thrive off making money and that is the only way to get anything done as far as I’ve seen.  Also, this issue doesn’t seem like it will just solve itself.  Maybe this isn’t the best approach, or the “right” one, but maybe it will illuminate enough minds and hopefully capture the attention of just the right person to find the solution.  Here are a few links with some different views of the Kony 2012 campaign, as for now, I want to keep spreading his name and let people know who he is.  Even those who criticize, most likely had no idea who he was and what was going on, it was through the video and the internet buzz that the critics even found out what was happening: the good and the bad, the right and the wrong of it. (Check out the forums and join the discussion for yourself!)  We now live in a world where the majority of news consumed, is actually reported by average citizens (from bloggers to journalists to everyday people who witness events).  These citizen journals are then shaped and corrected by the comments and discussions that take place below the articles or blog posts.  That’s what all this social technology is about!  We learn from one another, we spread ideas, we correct each other (politely would be preferred).  This is because we are human and we can learn and grow, especially from one another.  Another growing field in this world is social entrepreneurship!  The word entrepreneur is used for a reason!  They see an opportunity and they take a risk, some of them do more social good than others, but they do something.

If this organizations biggest faults are exaggerating Kony’s evilness and perhaps not allocating enough money to the cause; they still have shown Kony to the world and they are still sending some money.  That’s more than any of us were doing for Uganda less than a day ago.  Also, they may support the Ugandan Army to rid of Kony, but don’t our tax dollars support OUR army to go anywhere for any “supposed” cause that our country champions?


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Confused College Student – Where do I go next?

I’m reaching the end of my long journey through higher education and an attempt at completing a B.A. in a subject that actually interests me. It took many failed semesters, some hard life lessons, and a great deal of humility to finally discover the major that called to me: Sociology. I thought once I found the right major and was ready to really buckle down and conquer my education, that through my courses I’d figure out what I wanted to do. Well, after this semester, I have a mere 3 courses to complete and discovered that I’m still just as lost, if not more, when it comes to possible career options. I’m not even sure what is out there and available to me! Of course, I’m figuring out that this is greatly my own fault. Unfortunately, in sociology, a broad range of topics and issues appeal to me and choosing the one that seems the most worthy to champion or pursue is more difficulty to figure out then I had previously hoped. I see internships everywhere and I always think “I’m not ready for that!” or “I’ve never been taught to do that!” and I forget the important fact: THAT’S WHAT INTERNSHIPS ARE FOR! So finally sitting down with one of my favorite professors in one of my favorite fields (globalization), she told me some of the most valuable things that I have probably learned in school thus far! For one, she shared an internship opportunity with us for propublica.org in New York (it’s even paid!) Well it sounded amazing! I looked it up and it was for reporting for a public interest journal. Something about this internship called out for me! I see many appealing internships, but for some reason I wanted this one badly. Perhaps it’s because of past dreams to write or be a journalist or the mere fact that it’s an publicly informed journal that doesn’t spit out typical, mass-media lies. Either way I wanted it, even though it seems so far from my reach (and training!) Well, I decided I was going to ask her how to go about it and how to even go about choosing a career path in general! After speaking with her for the first time about it (I plan on having more regular meetings with her because her advice is structured for the real world!), but I decided I wanted to impart this wisdom with others while sharing my experience as I begin to discover what I really want to do in life and the ways in which I was going to get to that point.

Her first tidbit of advice was to center my career choice around my desired lifestyle. I had never thought about that! Did I want an office, 9-5 job, or would I rather travel and be free to share my own ideas and interpretations with others? What are my interests? How much money do I need to live comfortably? She also mentioned taking into account Cooley’s Looking Glass Self; basically, how do I want others to perceive me? What would I be proud to announce to others that I do for a living? With her interest in technology as well she informed me that with the internet you can simply create things on your own. This got me thinking that perhaps instead of fighting the things I care about, that I should look for ways to innovate solutions instead. Also, she imparted wisdom to me about how the educational system we are raised in and told to participate in if we would like to achieve great things in life, actually stifles creativity. Pointing out this article to me (“Will Dropouts Save America?”) further supported her point. This was fantastic to hear, especially from a professor, because I find myself resenting the homework I must complete since it takes up valuable time that I could use to educate myself on things that matter more to me. Another piece of information that I took from her was the fact that “when the marginalized participate in something (such as education), then it becomes de-legitimized.” This rings true when you realize more and more that the working world cares more about your network and what you do outside of a piece of paper that says you completed a program at a university. With all of this information I left our meeting feeling hopeful and excited for the future, and especially my journey through discovering what I truly want to do.

In regards to the specific journalist internship that I am currently striving for, she explained to me the importance of branding yourself and finding a niche or area of expertise. What do I know more about that average people? What area do I want to be an expert in? These same questions come up when I began my research on how to start up a blog. Well here will be my first formal attempt at a real blog, which I will use to find my niche and brand myself, all while sharing the experience with you. I will work on short pieces and articles that will hopefully enlighten me about the subjects that I would like to write about and explore further. Please feel free to critique and question, for it will only help me grow!

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