I walked into Creative Thinking and Writing “Food Porn” on my first day of classes as a freshman at Santa Clara University. I thought to myself “Great, another English class I can write mediocre papers about topics and books I don’t really care about and get out with at least a C+.” just like every other English class throughout my twelve years of Jesuit Education. Yet our professor, Nick Leither, immediately shattered my hopes of coasting through my mandatory college writing courses. I knew it was going to be hard, but I was certain my twelve years of practice, hard work, and refinement of my one skill would suffice, bullshitting. Every English course prior to this course was simple and asked very little of the students. Read
Information Age As Defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary: The modern age regarded as a time in which information has become a commodity that is quickly and widely disseminated and easily available especially through the use of computer technology.
We live in the information age, access to information has gone from something that required research in libraries and consulting with experts to an instantaneous process of looking something up on a web browser. Such advents of technoloy have turned information into a commodity. The commidification of information has opened up entire new ocean of misinformation. Just 50 years ago, buy in large our country could believe anything that they read on the newspapers or TV outlets. But then the internet happened… Continue reading The Misinformation Age//Cameron Read
“Whenever you make a decision, whenever you act, you are never just doing, you are always becoming.” –Aristotle
Throughout my life I have always tended to focus on finding deeper meanings. Whether it is through simple actions like doing chores or more substantial decisions like changing my lifestyle choices, when taking a step back and looking at the greater impact of my actions and how they affect me, I create purpose for myself. I have realized that all my actions contribute to the person I am today. I am constantly becoming.
Particularly through my Critical Thinking and Writing class at Santa Clara University, I was allowed to explore the deeper meaning in not only the topic of our course – titled Food Porn – but also reflect on my own life. Within the class we explored the realm of animal agriculture and its effect on our lives. Yet, even though this was the main theme of our class, we always seemed to focus on deeper rooted issues such as ethics, sustainability, awareness, and truth. The debates and discussions of these deeper concepts helped contribute to the development of my mind, heart, and soul. All the controversies and information I have been exposed to through my CTW class took part in creating the person I have become and am constantly becoming.
From the start, our first activity done in class was intended to spark self-reflection and a deeper level of thinking. Our professor, Nick Leither, and his companion, Rosa Del Duca, created a sort of questionnaire called the American Happiness Project and Professor Nick presented it to our class on the first day. This paper included four questions about ways we defined happiness, and asked for us to draw a picture representing it. You can take the online version or learn more about the questionnaire here. As you can see, right off the bat I was exposed to an environment that encouraged exploration and critique of my own thoughts and beliefs. This exploration continued as the year went on.
Within the topic of animal agriculture, we were not merely presented with facts and mindlessly accepting them, but rather we dove into the notion of who was to blame for unethical practices, and how our actions of consuming animal products show our negligence because we are informed about the vast amount of injustice the animal agriculture business has on not only to ourselves, but to our world as a whole.
In one of my essay assignments I analyzed the development and changes in my mind and heart in relation to eating meat. When breaking down my choice to not be a vegetarian in light of all the new information provided to me I examined my mind’s rationality, of taking into consideration that it is truly a bad practice, but also observed the values of my heart, and how eating meat is tied to my middle eastern culture and holds a significance beyond nutrition and fulfilling my appetite.
Within this essay I was able to critique my own belief and decisions, which is exactly what this class is encouraging. Through my self reflection I am able to develop myself into the person I truly want to become. Going beyond the issues within the food industry we also delve into lying and cheating and how that has an impact on our lives. Rather than observing the on-the-surface notion that lying and cheating are inherently bad, we analyzed the why and so what. We debated the controversial topics of if it is ever okay to cheat and what impact cheating and lying have on your character. Rather than seeing our world in black and white, we sought out the inner workings of our world’s gray areas. In my last essay of the course, I looked into lying in relationships and examined our societies boundaries, or rather lack thereof, for determining when lying is right or wrong. Within the surveys I took of my peers, along with my research, I was able to explore these gray areas of human morality. I came to the conclusions here that it is the individuals themselves that are responsible for creating their own rules, yet when doing so they must keep in consideration what effect their rules and boundaries have on their character. If they allow themselves to lie and cheat, what does that say about them? This then led me to question, in all the times I have cheated or lied, how has that made an effect on my character?
With all the new knowledge I have attained, and reflection I have made on my life decisions I have further developed myself as a whole person. I am now motivated to continue to keep asking those BIG questions and create a more purposeful life for myself. My professor rather than showing me, held my hand and led me along the path of the unique development of my mind, body, and soul. Professor Nick was the one who made me even further question my actions, being, and realities of my world, so now I am here to challenge you to explore the questions of your world and develop your mind, heart, and soul. Who are you truly becoming?
The end of my high school career is quickly approaching, and yet, I still do not even know where I am going to be spending the next four years of my life. I was considering colleges that ranged from California to Boston, and pretty much anywhere in between (including middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania). To put it simply, I was anxious. I started to get really bad stomach aches which added a lot of stress into my already stressful schedule.
I needed to find the source of my pain. How come after almost every meal I had to lay down and take tylenol? This led to my interest in food. I read blog after blog online of how to be healthy and I started to do a lot of cooking and baking. I even started my own food instagram (@goodeatsonly) which unfortunately is not so active now that I am in college. For my final senior project, I shadowed a certified nutritionist who works at Philip’s Academy, a boarding school near where I live, and created my own food blog. While I thought I was being healthier, the stomach aches did not leave me. I decided it was time to figure out what the problem was. I tried cutting things out of my diet one at a time, like my doctor suggested. I tried eliminating gluten, dairy, carbohydrates and peanut butter. “So, did any of them work?” No doctor, NOTHING. When he told me it was probably just stress getting to me, I gave up. If a doctor can’t figure it out, neither will I. Continue reading Falling in Love at the Grocery Store // Jenny Jenkins
Authors: Beshoy Eskarous, Mayra Sierra-Rivera, Andrew Mauzy, and Nico Ray Benito
“The waste-management company was dumping the Compost into Landfill, so the university switched companies,” our professor, Nick Leither told us. Was this true? Did Santa Clara University change companies because they cared that compost wasn’t properly disposed of, or was it due to the bad publicity they would receive?
We wanted to find out: Does Santa Clara University actually care about sustainability? Or are they simply doing the right thing – but for the wrong reasons?
Sustainability is the ability to maintain a specific set of operations for an indefinite amount of time without harming the environment. It is a continuous mission that requires vigilance from those who pursue it, and yet it may never be fully achieved. Today, Santa Clara University prides itself on its journey towards sustainability, specifically its mission of becoming waste free by the year 2020, focusing its resources on recycling, composting and food recovery. It has become a key attraction in the University’s advertisement to alumni and prospective students. The school has worked hard to create this image – founded on its Jesuit values – and the community works each day to reinforce it. In the past few years, Santa Clara University has begun a process similar to many movements across the country. But does this process stem from a place of good intention, or are there ulterior motivations for this movement, such as marketing the school. Continue reading Doing Right By Doing Wrong?
Authors: Robert Ota, Caley Falcocchia, Melody Nouri, Robin Johnson
While recently attending one of the Santa Clara University’s tours, I relived my first experience of stepping foot onto the campus. I remember the beautiful surroundings striking my attention; the green grass, colorful flowers, and amazing architecture. Walking among the peach colored buildings and listening to the wonderful qualities SCU contains sparked my excitement and hopefulness to attend my soon to be college. SCU holds a strong pride for their beautiful campus shown during the recent tour I went on. Allison, my tour guide, led us around the campus with a large, welcoming smile, occasionally stopping at the more attractive and iconic parts on campus to describe certain aspects of SCU.
“Hide and Seek”
America has been the birth place of some of the best inventions of all time such as cell phones, the Internet, airplanes, television, etc., however, the most influential creation from the US is a little game called “hide and seek.” Merriam-Webster defines hide and seek as “a children’s game in which everyone hides from one player who tries to find them” (Merriam-Webster). How can a children’s game be one of the most influential inventions in the history of the US? Continue reading AMERICA: HOME OF HIDE AND SEEK // CAMERON AKHAVAN