Thursday, March 15, 2018

Being a Puppy Uncle

Hi I'm Oakley!
This semester a not so average person joined my friend group. He's 17 weeks old, he doesn't talk much, he loves a strange iteration of beef jerky, and his name is Oakley the golden retriever puppy. Oakley moved into my house in January and has been a wonderful addition. He doesn't talk much which is perfect, and when he does talk it's just to tell us he needs to go to the bathroom (pretty straightforward guy). And if he's ever not happy all I need to do is call him over and scratch the heck out of the little guy. He also is a big fan of the beach. However every time he goes to the beach he loves it so much he spends too much time licking the water and ends up getting sick so his owner (my friend Sam) has decided to stop bringing him there, at least until he gets another month or two older. As for me my responsibilities are pretty simple when I'm with him, watch the puppy until Sam gets back. I feed him some dry food, take him out to use the restroom, but I mainly like to take him for
Taken 1 week ago
quick jogs to tire him out so when we get back to the house he's in a sleepy-but-wants-to hang out kind of mood. He's also the most popular guy in Isla Vista right now. There will be times where I'm walking him and random people I or Sam don't know (probably know him from Snapchat) will shout from a car "I love you Oakley!" Although having this guy has added a little more to my workload every day, his happiness always makes it worth it. As I've been going through this experience I've decided that I definitely plan on owning a puppy in a further out future. If you ever plan on getting a dog in college just make sure you have enough people there to watch them and you're fully committed to this dog, because their lives are truly in your hands.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reddit and How it got me my first 4.0

Shout out to all the strangers that showed me how to get good grades!

Reddit is a news aggregating/discussion based website. As of 2018 it is the 4th most visited website in the United States with an emphasis on people aged late teens to early 40s. A lot of people have at least heard of Reddit, but what is Reddit? Imagine a large skyscraper building called... I don't know.... Reddit. On each floor of the building there is a different theme (politics, news, sports, handyman tips, comedy, medicine..), so for instance let's say sports is the theme for the second floor. On the second floor you notice signs for every single sport from curling to polo. You suddenly decide that you want to check out the office block dedicated to hockey so you turn right. And once you enter inside the block you notice that there are a bunch of smaller rooms within the hockey block. One room says LA
The Infamous Reddit Alien
Kings, another San Jose Sharks, and one dedicated solely to Wayne Gretzky. Each one of those smaller rooms is what is called a Subreddit  where people from all over can come together to discuss their shared interest. In a very literal way it is one of the best ways for the whole world to come together. I've read first hand stories from North Korean defectors, WW2 veterans, and even was able to ask Alex Morgan (US Women's Soccer) a question! Reddit is the worlds virtual means of congregation. It is the pulse of the web-able world.

So this brings me to how it helped me in college. On Reddit there is subreddit called r/College. It is a place for professors and students to come together and discuss college from a very broad point of view. Before I even started college I was on the college subreddit constantly trying to figure out how to be most effective from day one. I was consequently given a strong support community from the start. People always just add encouraging posts, funny college related jokes, and random tips so I personally felt like I was in a good mental place. What truly did it for me was when I read a post before college where juniors and seniors were giving their own advice about how they all got 4.0s (read a more recent one here or here). If there's one thing in life you should do is listen to smart people so I did. The first takeaways I got were "Always hand write your notes, put away your phone in lectures, study for a test at least 3 days before, and do your best to befriend the teacher." I highly suggest if you're looking for guidance or a strong community you refer to Reddit because believe me, as smart as the people are in your life there will always be some random person across the world smarter than them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lady Bird, Sacramento, and Matt

The Blue House
As Hollywood's big night comes to a close a shadow is cast over my hometown and the movie it now claims as integral to its culture, Lady Bird. Sacramento is a city whom I love and write about time and time again on this blog. It's the place I grew up (obviously) and the place I've continued to grow to love. I will save the Sacramento praise and divert attention to the movie that has recently put it in the spotlight and why the movie means so much to me.

Greta acting in high school
Lady Bird is a movie written by Greta Gerwig, a 34 year old Sacramento native. Her filmography includes acting spots in Santa Barbara's own 20th Century Women, as Nancy Tuckerman in the Jacqueline Kennedy bio-pic Jackie, and as Brooke in Mistress America. Lady Bird follows a girl who has named herself Lady Bird as she navigates her final year of high school. The movie puts a special emphasis on her changing relationships with family members, friends, and authority figures. However, Lady Bird is different from past Gerwig projects. It is much more personal. First off, she wrote and directed the movie. Second off, she based it much on the life she lived growing up going to an all girls Catholic school in 2002 and hanging out in East Sacramento. The reason why I love this movie so much comes from a biased one. My twin sister Renee actually attended the high school that Greta writes about so affectionately, St. Francis. The movie also includes stereotypes of boys that went to the brother high school I attended, Jesuit Sacramento. Even more so than that, the movie mainly takes place and is shot in East Sacramento, the area I hung out around during high school. Many scenes in the movie brought back an unparalleled excitement as I recall moments similar to her's. I remember hanging out in the rose garden at Mckinley Park, I remember driving the J Street bridge for the first time, and most significantly I remember the legendary blue house that makes a recurring appearance in the movie. It just so happens one of my best friends from high school lived on the exact same block and I remember the several years it took for the thing to be built and even making a brief expedition inside during construction. I even remember playing soccer on the blue house lawn while waiting during the halftime of the Super Bowl a couple years back. 
McKinley Park
Another very interesting thing that I have related with Greta Gerwig is that she partook in the theater program I was in during high school. She also shared the same mentor I had, Ed Trafton. Interestingly enough, Mr. T was written into the movie in 3 different characters. The only one I can point at definitively is the theater director. Also, the pianist has very similar facial hair compared to Ed Trafton! I don't know if this was done on purpose but I bet it was!

Watching this movie for me was like having someone write a movie about what it was like for me growing up. In a lot of ways it brought up very personal things such as struggling to afford Catholic High School and feeling left out of the overly wealthy population that was very apparent at St. Francis and Jesuit. But in another way it makes me more thankful for my upbringing and this movie. If you're looking to cry, experience human experiences, and SACRAMENTO!!! Look no further, head on over to the theater and pick up a ticket for Lady Bird.

"Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento."-Joan Didion (featured in Lady Bird)

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Latest College Trend: Fortnite

Welcome to Fortnite
Imagine this. You and 99 other people jump out of a flying bus over an island. You parachute in the middle of what is about a 8 square mile island. As soon as everyone hits the ground it is every person for themselves. Your first goal is to find a weapon and gather adequate resources in order to survive for the next 30 minutes. Every single person that dropped down with you has a similar goal. Hide, survive, and when necessary take down the other guy. This is Fortnite.

Fortnite is the newest trend that is sweeping the current collegiate generation. It is a free game available for PS4, Xbox1, and PC.  At first I noticed only a person here and there playing it last semester. But first day back from Winter Break I realized that it's an epidemic. Every single day my house WiFi has gone kaput due to 6 different people playing Fortnite at the same time one different TVs. Any time I go
This is what it looks like when you win
over to a friend's house in Isla Vista or Santa Barbara, we play Fortnite. Fortnite is the craziest trend  in my opinion, to happen since Pokemon Go. Though I will say I notice more males play than females. Let me be clear, I am completely okay with this epidemic. The game is exhilarating to play. The amount of strategy that goes into surviving longer than 99 other people is unparalleled. Trying to find places to hide, stalking and taking down other players, or even trying to survive an ambush, Fortnite puts you in the craziest of scenarios. The premise alone is amazing, but the fact that it is free to play has made it the ultimate college video game. I will also say, that although you can't play the game with a friend it is a great game to play when friends might be over. People can give you advice, tell you where that guy is that is shooting you, and narrate it in a comedic way (my favorite is pretending I'm a 1950s Disc Jockey).

In perspective, I think this will be one of those fascinating fads that my generation will remember when we get up in our years because it truly is something that almost all of my generation can say they at least know of.  But until that day comes, Viva La Fortnite!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Do's and Dont's of Midterm Season

Do: Check your syllabus and Canvas to make sure you know what day your midterm is.
Don’t: Walk into class on Monday, notice everyone has Scantrons and blue books and say out loud “Oh my God is the midterm today?”

Do: Drink a cup of coffee to give you that extra push if you’re feeling especially jaded.

Don’t: Down several Red Bull energy drinks, notice that your heart is throbbing, and then ask your roommate if it’s normal to feel life in slow motion.

Do: Go to the Learning Resource Center for tutoring.
Don’t: Go to that random guy in your Comm class that you’ve seen once before and ask him if he wants to study the hour before the test because you’re both too lazy to go to tutoring or office hours.

Do: Review the study guide or summary questions that the teacher says should be helpful for the test.
Don’t: Review the crack on the wall for 45 minutes and realize that you haven’t gotten anything done.

Do: Use old tests, quizzes, and homework to review course content.
Don’t: Use old tests, quizzes, and homework to start a fire to stay warm.

Do: Form a study group with some motivated classmates.
Don’t: Form a party group with some unmotivated classmates.

Do: Start studying several days before the midterm.
Don’t: Put off studying until the night before because you were too caught up in watching Season 4 of The Office. (Great season, but watch it at a different time!)

Do: Get 8 hours of sleep the night before the big test.
Don’t: Watch 8 hours of Spongebob thinking that somehow it’ll help with your oceanography midterm.

Do: Make sure you have the proper materials for your midterm such as pencils, blue books, and Scantrons.
Don’t: Ask your teacher if the blue post-it notes you found under your desk put together counts as a blue book.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

PE in College?

The "Second Sphere"

SBCC is considered (by me) to be split into two spheres. The first sphere is the textbook-academic sphere located on Main and West Campus where one would find themselves on a typical week day. The second sphere is located literally under the first sphere, nestling the hills of Main Campus. This of course is the world of athletics. To the average SBCC student who doesn't partake in a sport, chances are you've never been around that part of campus.
The Sports Pavilion
In all my time at SBCC, I never made my way to the gym, locker rooms, or even the rather jam-packed Physical Education building. While I was registering for classes last semester I made the decision to try something I haven't ever done at SBCC, take a PE class. Why not? It's my last semester at SBCC and the present as good as time as any. So I flipped through the class schedule and was shocked to find that we offer around 100 physical education classes. To name a few: badminton, surfing, ocean swimming, golf, beach volleyball, and even karate. All of these classes first off exist which I think is amazing. But they all come in varying skill levels from beginner to advanced, tailor-made to people of all levels.

My After Workout Scowl
 I knew while I was looking that I wanted to take a class where I knew I would get a good sweat in and be challenged to do better by my classmates. I ending up choosing intermediate basketball due to all these things and loving the fast-paced tempo of the sport. To put it simply, a lot of the PE classes and more specifically my class is a lot like being on a sports team and going to practice. We show up at certain times, warm up, do drills, and scrimmage. The overall camaraderie I feel with my classmates is what I often feel when I'm a part of a team. Besides getting a nice work out in there are many advantages to being in a PE class. You receive access to the otherwise closed locker room, you get your own locker to store things for the semester, and for 5 dollars a semester you receive towel service so theoretically, every day you can get a clean towel as long as your return the dirty one.

PE classes at SBCC are just one of the many lesser known treasures on campus. They can challenge you as an individual, whip you back into shape, or even teach you the importance of teamwork (corny but I believe it). If you plan on taking classes at SBCC I highly recommend it to supplement the mental work out you are getting on a daily basis.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I'm a Public Speaking Tutor!

As if I don't already spend a enough time at SBCC between school, student government, and the various clubs I'm involved in; I recently was hired on as an on campus public speaking tutor in the iPath program! The new job is one that I'm very happy to be doing as I feel like peer to peer relations is where I exceed best.

Catch me in the Learning Resource Center/Tutorial HQ
Public speaking is a subject I have a love/hate relationship with, but more love than hate. In no other field can you grow so much than in public speaking. People could have the worst social skills but as long as they practice it there is room for infinite growth. As a child I had pretty awful speaking skills and was always afraid of being given larger scale attention despite loving it. When I got to middle school I became an altar server at my Church and at the very least, became used to the idea of being on stage. By high school I was running for student government, joining the speech team, and making daily announcements at school. Throughout all this time, I failed constantly. I fumbled my words a lot, would segway in the worst possible ways, and even just stand there and say nothing due to a loss for words. But over time, I learned that failure is a part of the process and if at the very least you get used to failure you can become okay with the idea of you bombing in front of people. So when I got to SBCC I decided to take a public speaking class and refine my skills and reinforce my fearlessness of bombing. Throughout the semester I practiced speaking constantly, learned to fail and recover better than before, and by the end I was actually not half bad. Soon enough my teacher asked me to tutor and here I am!

This blog wouldn't be complete of course without some public speaking tips so here are a couple of quick tips I find to be very useful.

My face when I see a student who needs help
1. Practice a speech 5x before presenting it.
2. Recreate the speaking area if possible when rehearsing your speech.
2.5. Have a friend watch you so you get used to the idea of someone else watching that particular speech.
3. If you're nervous but comfortable-ish speaking in front of a familiar group, tell them you're "a little nervous." Chances are they'll be more encouraging.
4. Avoid starting a speech with the overdone "Throughout history..."
5. Start a speech with a related story, quote, or statistic to get the attention of the listener.
6. If your intro has a story then try to link that story during the conclusion of your speech. Listeners love getting "extra closure."