I was uncomfortable from the minute I walked into “Critical Thinking and Writing” at 5:25pm on a Monday–the first day of my college career. I was uncomfortable being in a new state, surrounded by new people who had new interests and perceptions of what was “in” and what wasn’t. I grew even more uncomfortable when my teacher was late and one of my classmates insisted we all get in a circle and chat. That was not me. I was also very intimidated by the idea of critically thinking and thinking for myself. I had become very good at keeping quiet and reading the classroom and then reiterating exactly what I knew the teacher wanted to hear on whatever assessment came up. In fact, if I was directly asked my thoughts on something I would mutter an “I don’t know” and quickly divert my attention. Critical Thinking and Writing? This was not my cup of tea, to say the least.
I am a vegetarian and I have no idea why. I would like to say that I have some convoluted yet eloquently verbalized answer to how what I eat changes the world for the better, but I don’t. Continue reading Why the Heck am I a Vegetarian? // Jackson Bordelon
“I ordered a venti and they only gave me a grande.” “My phone is almost dead and I forgot my charger.” “Netflix won’t buffer so I can’t watch the next episode of Parks and Rec #firstworldproblems.” All of these seem like major inconveniences. How could I possibly survive without my daily coffee fix, my phone, or finding out what happens between Ben and Leslie? Obviously none of these scenarios are preferred, but if they are the worst things that happen to a person, they can hardly be considered “problems.” Continue reading First World Problems (Or Lack Thereof)// Joe Plata
- a person who does not eat or use animal products.
Growing up, teachers always teach their students to care about the whys and the hows and the whats of a thing to gain the critical understanding of it. It did not matter if it was a book, a historical event, or even some scientific concept. The three most important things were how, what and why. Frankly, I was perfectly fine with this as well. If I could answer these three questions I considered myself completely in understanding of the issue at hand and could move on. My writing reflected this as it was about as emotional as a Scotch-Irish farmer from Kansas, and as logical as a math problem. The three questions were always answered in an almost formulaic manner, and then the topic was disposed of in a detached manner. This year by stepping back, I have realized the vital property that is hanging in the background of every problem and every facet of life, place, or the question of where. Continue reading The Importance of Where: A Journey to Place//Andrew Melendez
Many people growing up in places throughout the nation and other countries dream about coming to the Bay Area, a place where businesses are flourishing, technology is rampant, and people can make millions with their innovative ideas. However, what doesn’t pass through the minds of many is that people continue to dish out thousands of dollar to live in a place where the cost of living is artificially high, and where, despite being the headquarters of many social media companies, many people don’t even know their neighbors. The majority of the Bay Area does the same task of dressing up in a dress shirt and jeans, driving hours in stop-and-go traffic in either their “environmentally friendly car” or brand new sports car, working a 9 to 5 job, going home to cook dinner and repeat the same process the next day. My experience in Critical Writing and Thinking here at Santa Clara has taught me to have my eyes constantly open, to acknowledge the ignorance we have as a society, and to consider ways to change that.
Violence, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as “the use of physical force to harm someone,” or “intense, furious, and often destructive action” (“Violence”). While violence may embody these characteristics, this definition fails to address the more indirect, yet equally harmful, characteristics of violence that are a part of our daily lives. While in my Critical Thinking & Writing (CTW) classes, we tackled both the veiled aspects of violence as well as the manifestation of physical violence. Those Americans following current events in 2014 have probably heard of the Ray Rice domestic violence case in the National Football League. Older Americans are also probably aware of the infamous Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Some may even be knowledgeable about the horrible violence occurring in the factory farming industry. The low cost of beef and poultry available at a typical grocery store does not come without a cost; the cost is poorly treated animals. Are you aware of the atrocities occurring each day in the poultry factory farming industry? Are you familiar with the consistently unimpressive handling of domestic violence cases in the NFL? Do you know the extent of the group and gang violence throughout the United States? And if you are aware, would you consider changing your actions if they would prevent the perpetuation of violence? Much of the violence in the United States is avoidable, if the actions of its citizens demonstrate a concern for both animal and human life. Continue reading Violence: A Lack of Concern for Life // Ally Mueller