Journal #2 – September

Attentiveness has always been a struggle on mine throughout my school years. Listening to a teacher talk for almost two hours straight was almost impossible for me, especially when I would have four back-to-back classes with teachers using the exact same teaching style. Instead of paying attention in class, I would daydream and later question everything I was supposed to be paying attention to; when is the homework due? What website do I go on? How do I complete this assignment? I have been unlearning this skill within some of my college courses because they require me to be active with the class and challenge my thought process. Unlearning in this context means to discard the rules of writing that have been drilled into our brains since day one. To be a good writer, the text needs to be clearly understood and have effective points of view on what is being written about. Writing with this new style will benefit me and every other person using it because it will be a new challenge and show ourselves what we are capable of.

Journal #3 – September

In David Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech, “This is Water” he discusses how the most important realities are the hardest to see, blind certainty, and a person’s default settings. When discussing the topic of blind certainty, he brings up an example of an atheist and a religious man. They’re both sitting at a bar discussing the topic of god. The atheist was recently stuck in a blizzard and cried out to God for help, after that a group of eskimo’s come by and help him. The religious man interprets the situation as God helping him out of a dangerous situation, but the atheist sees it as a coincidence. Both men are certain about their opinion that they don’t open up their mind to new possibilities.

One’s default settings make them believe they’re the center of their own universe and they’re blind to other people’s problems. To think differently one needs to learn to change their default settings. Wallace explains to us that when we are in a supermarket and a woman is yelling at her kids she may not act like that all time, but maybe her husband is suffering from cancer at the moment, or when a car cuts you off on the road a father could be trying to quickly get his child in the passenger seat to the hospital. He wanted to exhibit the different ways people’s default settings work, so instead of thinking how it’s inconvenience, he wants us to think of the possible theory that someone may have it worse than we do.

Journal #4 – September

When people tell stories about unexpected events they’ve experienced, most people assume a tragic accident or a family member dying. Basically, people assume the worst. However, my experience was nothing other than positive. It was when I discovered what I wanted to be in the future, a healthcare professional. All throughout high school I thought I knew what I wanted to do, and that was apply to college as a marketing or business major. I have always been a creative person so I knew I could excel at marketing. My goal was to market for clothing companies or other top brands. That was until I took a marketing class my junior year; I hated it. I despised going to class everyday, nothing we learned was interesting to me. I was now questioning my future. I had to rethink about what I wanted to do, but I idea what that would be anymore.

I discovered the only class I enjoyed going to was health science. In fact, I assumed I’d hate this class more than Marketing. Enrolling in health science was a way to receive a science credit without having to enroll in chemistry. I hated anything related to the medical field, I became squeamish around blood and couldn’t even glance at a broken arm, leg or any dismantled body part without becoming nauseous. Despite that, I wound up loving medicine and all the disgusting topics after a month of starting class. I started to believe there was a reason I signed up for this class. once I discovered a love for this topic I was no longer disgusted, all I wanted to do was be able to help people. I worked hard everyday in class and later was invited into the second year of the program to work and complete clinicals to obtain my Licensed Nursing Assistant Certification. I also received an Anatomy and Physiology award for being one of the top five in the class. Discovering I wanted to go into the medical field was an event I would never have expected from myself, but I’m thankful I did.

Journal #5 – September


I disagree with this passage because it is inhumane to feed a cat unnatural supplements to replace actual meat that has real nutritional value. Even though animals kill one another they must do it to survive, humans don’t need to kill animals to survive. However, people see animals eating other animals in a bad way so, as the article says, people are training their animals how to survive without eating meat. Therefore, I disagree with feeding cats and other pets foods that don’t contain meat because there anatomy was build to depend on it.


I agree with this passage because it talks about the Salatin’s family who own 550 acres where the family raises 6 different types of animals for food. People shouldn’t have to give up meat completely because some places, such as the Salatin’s family, treats their animals with respect and gives them the best possible life on the farm before they kill them for their meat. When slaughterhouses kill animals in an inhumane way is when it is not okay.


I am conflicted with this passage because in Tom Regan’s book, “The Case for Animal Rights” it says that because species do not have individuality then they cannot be seen to have rights like humans have. I am conflicted because all animals feel pain, and they all have feelings. Just because animals cannot communicate their issues to another species doesn’t mean they don’t exist. To not give an animal rights to its survival does not make sense.

Journal #6 – September

In Pollan’s “An Animal’s Place”, he engaged with many sources that surprised me. Two major sources he talked about were the opinions of Salatin and Singer. On page three, Singer quotes “Equality is a moral idea, not as assertion of fact.” (Pollan 3). Singer makes us question the difference between an educated person and someone who isn’t. If someone is more intelligent than another person or acquires better qualities how can we treat them the same? In the sentence, “If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his or her own ends, how can it entitle human to exploit nonhumans for the same purpose.” (Pollan 3) we think, if humans are no more entitled to one another even if they are more intelligent better or better looking, then how can we treat animals as a lesser being. Pollan’s choice of Singer as a source in his writing commands us to question, is there really a difference between humans and animals? We all have the same goal, which is to prevent pain. Pollan engaged his readers into a conversation about Singer’s opinion that also makes us question why people eat meat, or more importantly, why we shouldn’t.

The next source we heard from was Salatin. Salatin and his family own a 550 acre farm that six animal species occupy. They raise cattle, pigs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys and sheep. When pollan visited this farm he developed a new perspective on domestication and vegetarianism. “I thought a lot about vegetarianism and animal rights during the day I spent on Joel Salatin’s extraordinary farm. So much of what I’d read, so much of what I’d accepted, looked very different form here. To many animals rightists, even Polyface Farm is a death camp. But to look at these animals is to see this for the sentimental conceit it is. In the same way that we can probably recognize animal suffering when we see it, animal happinesses is unmistakable, too, and here I was seeing it in abundance” (Pollan 11). Unlike Singer’s opinion, the Salatin’s are in favor of eating meat. The animals they raise are not tortured, but instead they live in tranquility and an enjoyable life on the farm before they end up on the dinner table. Pollan uses Salatin as another source to show both sides of the meat industry.

Pollan choose to be in conversation with one side more than the other to engage his readers and make them question their own opinions on this controversial topic. These exercises helped me learn that there will always be ongoing opinions about specific subject matter and having two sources with different opinions help people express their thoughts but also hear what others think.

Journal #7 – September 

I underlined the quote “The point we want to emphasize is that quoting what “they say” must always be connected with what you say” (Grath, Birkenstein 44), because many times when I write and use in-text citations, I will often use quotes about the writer’s opinion and wont express my own thoughts enough. This is an important line because to be a good writer a person must not only be able to explain the writer’s opinion, but also elaborate on their opinion as well. The second sentence I underlined from the book is “When in doubt, go for it. It is better to risk being overly explicit about what you take a quotation to mean than to leave the quotation dangling and your readers in doubt’ (Grath, Birkenstein 50).  I think this is an important sentence because when I write I tend to fail to elaborate a quote. To over analyze will be a better way for me, as a writer, to communicate better with my readers and help them understand where my point of view is on a quote or how I interpreted it. It will also allow the reader to understand the quote more in depth.

Journal #8 – September

The first passage I underlined is, “As a writer, when you play the believing game well, readers should not be able to tell whether you agree or disagree with the ideas you are summarizing. If, as a writer you cannot or will not suspend your own beliefs in this way, you are likely to produce summaries that are so obviously biased that they undermine your credibility with readers.” (Graff, Birkenstein 31-32). When I would write papers in high school I would have to state my opinion and why I agree or disagree with a certain topic. I find it interesting that this book is giving the opposite advice to hide your opinion until you reach the end of the paper and until then to express your thoughts on both sides.

The second sentence I underlined is “But writers often summarize a given author on one issue even though their text actually focuses on another” (Graff, Birkenstein 35). This was another interesting sentence to me because sometimes when I would write a paper, or if I was reading a friend’s, many times I would notice they would state an author’s main focus but their own writing would completely reject the idea the author has. After reading this I will be more focused on what author’s ideas I am using that support my own.

Journal #9 – September

While writing my paper-like thing, I completed the five activities: assessing the situation, develop ideas, rethink, add, cut, and clarify.  In order for me to begin the conversation I had to assess the situation, which started with asking the question whether or not it is ethical to eat meat. I had to read Pollan’s piece in order to understand the two main sources, Peter Singer and Joel Salatin’s opinion. Once I grasped and understood both of their thoughts on the topic I could assess the situation and being the introduction to my paper. Many of my paragraphs were very unorganized and not clearly stated. I had to rethink and move sentences that were in one paragraph and  move it to another paragraph in order for my thoughts to make sense and for the reader to follow the flow and process that was occuring. I also had to add more thoughts and ideas into my paper. I noticed while I was writing I would quote too much and avoid putting my opinion in which needed to change so I went through certain sections and added my opinion onto the quote or I summarized the quote. In addition to adding words, I also had to cut some sentences and quotes out of my paper. In some sections I lacked putting in opinions but in others I explained too much into detail. I went through and cut out quotes that later rejected my thought further on in the paper, didn’t make sense, or were no longer necessary. I also cut some of my own opinions out. Finally I needed to clarify. Some of my thoughts at the beginning weren’t clear or I related opinions to topics that didn’t support that idea. I went through every opinion and every quote and reviewed if I needed to further explain or explain less to make it clear to the readers.

Journal #10- October

I enjoyed writing this reflection about Pollan’s writing. I thought the whole piece was interesting and it made me question some of the ways I think about animal cruelty and the meat industry. It also changed my perspective when I read about Polyface Farm. I have always seen graphic videos of animals being killed in an inhumane way that I didn’t think places like Polyface existed. It made me happy to know that not everyone is cruel to animals. Besides the topic, i enjoyed writing the actual paper because I was able to my own thoughts into it and explain both sides of the controversial topic. I leaned in both directions when writing this because I don’t believe in animal cruelty but I also think eating animals isn’t a problem as long as they’re respected. When I enjoy writing about my own opinion in papers which didn’t happen a lot in high school so being able to write like this was beneficial to me. Overall, I enjoyed this project.

Journal #11- October

The first passage I underlined in They Say I Say was about using the word “I” in writing, “Although you may have been told that the “I” word encourages subjective, self-indulgent opinions rather than well-grounded arguments, we believe that texts using “I” can be just as well supported- or just as self-indulgent- as those that don’t (Graff, Birkenstein 71). I found this passage interesting because in high school teachers advised against using “I” in writing but the book says that using this letter in writing can help make arguments as strong as if we did use it.

The second passage I found interesting and underlined was about when writers don’t use “voice-marking devices”. “When writers fail to use voice-marking devices like the ones discussed in this chapter, their summaries of others’ views tend to become confused with their own ideas- and vice versa. When readers cannot tell if you are summarizing your own views or endorsing a certain phrase or label, they have to stop and think… (Graff, Birkenstein 74). When writers don’t do this the reader fail to understand where the writer’s opinion is they have to stop and question why the writer is thinking this way or they thought the writer would be against this certain view which can become confusing to the reader.

The third paragraph I underlined was From Julie Charlips writing “A Real Class Act: Something for Identifying in the ‘Classless’ Society”. “How do we define class? Is it an issue of values, lifestyle, taste? Is it the kind of work you do, your relationship to the means of the production? Is it a matter of how much money you earn? Are we allowed to choose? In this land of supposed classlessness , where we don’t have the tradition of English society to keep us in our places, how do we know where we really belong?” (Charlip). I found this interesting because I have never really questioned how we rank class and what makes people of higher society than others other than having money.

Journal #12- October

In Terry Gross’s interview with Ray Charles she first discusses his style of music. Ray talks about his love for country music and why he wanted to record them. Terry explains to him that when she first heard his music she didn’t think of them as country songs, she just thought of them as “Ray Charles records”, she found out later they were considered country songs. Terry keeps the conversation going with Ray for a very long time, she  thinks quickly and always has something to say back to him to keep the conversation going. She asks him many questions that might make others asking. For example, she speaks with him about segregation at his school and about how he became blind.

Journal  #13- October

The book says the first rule of interviewing is to be curious about the person you’re interviewing. I found it interesting that the book says in order to become better at interviewing you must practice it and once you get used to it coming up with questions and feeling more comfortable saying things that may be uncomfortable for the person to answer. I also found it interesting that a certain location affects the outcome of the interview. I never thought the location was an important factor because I always assumed an interview is done in an office or on the road, depending on the type of interview. Realizing that there is a lot of thought in picking the right place to interview is interesting.

If I ever need to interview someone in the near future, the book lists the idea of being able to ask questions that weren’t listed prior to going into the interview. If the conversation leads into a different direction then you must be able to think quick and come up with new things to ask the person. The final thing the book says is you only get one chance so in order for it to go right it must be taken seriously the first time.

Journal #14- October

In the interview with TerrY gross i enjoyed reading the part about how she is capable of getting her interviewees to talk about personal things with her over the radio. However, her intention wasn’t to make the interview uncomfortable or emotional. I also found it interesting that people had a certain image of what they expected her to look like. I learned that Terry is a very compassionate woman. When she interviews her readers she wants to get a sense of what their life is like in their shoes. She describes herself as someone who listens rather than outdoorsy. She would rather be reading things. I also learned that she is short and most people expected her to be tall, but where surprised she wasn’t when they meet her. I would ask Terry Gross the two questions, who did she enjoy interviewing the most out of the thousands of people she’s talked to and why. Also, who’s story or life she connected or felt emotion towards most with in an interview and why.

Journal #15- October

Last class we watched a ted talk with the speaker, Carol Dweck. She talked about the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. I experienced both a fixed and growth mindset throughout this semester, growth when I would work on my journals and fixed while working on the field notes.

A growth mindset happens when someone believes they are capable of expanding their knowledge and learning more. Dweck tells us about the outcome of giving 10 year olds math problems that are too difficult for them to solve, “Some of them reacted in a shockingly positive way. They said things like, “I love a challenge, or “You know I was hoping this would be more informative” (Dweck). When working on the journals I sometimes read about new ways to improve my writing and other skills that make me believe I’m capable of expanding my knowledge. In my journals I talk about how I can benefit from what I am reading and put what I am reading into my writing, which includes the templates in some of the sections we read.


On the field notes, I get a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset happens when someone doesn’t believe they’re not capable of expanding their knowledge.  I have fallen behind on doing them and get caught up in other work so doing these assignments are usually the last things that come to mind. I plan to complete more this week and go to see the speaker on October 29 on the Portland campus. These two quoted portions fit together to support my claim because my struggle and success on these works fit the definition of a fixed and growth mindset.

Journal #17- October

In Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about faking it until you make it, multiple questions arose from reading it. The first being, how do nonverbal expressions show higher dominance to others? We tend to make ourselves smaller around people of higher power, and Amy said women especially did this when a male figure was around. So why do we have to limit our power when around others who have more than us? I feel as if we should be more outgoing and show more confidence around people like that. Second, for someone who feels powerless all the time around many people, whether they’re powerless or not, what would she recommend to do so when we are in certain situations we can feel confident and in control of our own lives and how does someone go about faking it until you make it? Thirdly, what does Cuddy want us to do during the two minutes before a big event? Does she want us to meditate pray, take a deep breath? What can we do to mentally prepare ourselves for something that is about to happen.


Journal #18- October

During my senior year in high school I faked it until I made it/become it while doing clinicals for my LNA certification. Sometimes I wouldn’t be completely positive about how to do a certain skill but I would complete it to the best of my ability or ask the teacher to ensure the skill was being performed correctly and safely. I also fake it until I make it/ become it in my chemistry lecture and lab because most of the time things aren’t explained and I will google what’s going on with a certain concept so I become more aware and when people ask me if I know what’s happening I just repeat what the website said.

Journal #19- November

I would have difficulty answering these questions honestly and accurately because I would not want to offend anyone and their opinion. Being asked these questions on the spot would affect me because I wouldn’t know what questions to prepare for and how to answer them. Sometimes when i’m asked a question I have many ideas about it but I only share a few because I forget the others so this could affect the accuracy in my response. I could also not answer honestly because I don’t want people to know the truth about what I think so I make up a random response.  

My health science and anatomy teachers in high school prepared me for college because of the medical background I learned in their classes. My major here at UNE is medical biology so taking these classes helped me earn college credit through the local community college that transferred here and acquire knowledge that will be necessary to pass future college classes. I also received my Licensed Nursing Assistant Certification through my health science class which also helped me prepare for college because in the Pre-Physician assistant program it is required that you have two years of experience working as a healthcare professional in order to get the degree and work as a PA, so having this certification puts me ahead of most people in my program.

Journal #20

Throughout the last two weeks of class we listened to three different TED talk speakers, Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, Atul Gawande, a surgeon and writer, and Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and public speaker. During their talks they all shared their views on different concerns they have about the human body and brain function. Carol Dweck spoke of how someone can improve their learning based on their mindset, Atul Gawande on becoming better at something through coaching, and Amy Cuddy discusses body language and faking it until you make it. All three of these speakers have different thoughts about human behavior, but they all link together on how people can better themselves based on learning and having a growth mindset.

My first semester as a college student came off to a rough start. I have struggled many times with my more advanced classes such as chemistry and biology. I found my experiences so far this semester connect best to Gawande’s speech on coaching. He is known as a great surgeon with good post-surgery outcomes, but decided to get a coach to improve his technique. He found that his coach had critiqued much of his work even though he thought it went perfectly. I currently have an english coach this semester, Eric Drown. So far he has helped me improve my writing technique and helps me understand my thoughts more clearly so I can better understand what I want to write.

Coaching with Eric made me realize I could get by in high school without trying very hard, but college is  a different story. I’ll bring a completed or partially completed assignment with me to the session thinking it’s fine and not much needs to be changed; many things needed to change.  Gawande states, “Turns out there are numerous problems in making it on your own.You don’t recognize the issues that are standing in your way or if you do, you do not necessarily know how to fix them. And the result is that somewhere along the way, you stop improving. And I thought about that, and I realized that was exactly what was happening to me as a surgeon.” When I write a paper or work on a project, there are many times I don’t notice mistakes that someone else will, having someone to critique your work and notice things will help improve my work for next time. This is exactly what Gawande wants people to do, go out and get help.  

Unlike high school, I have access to a tutoring center at the University. When I become confused on an assignment or a certain concept in a class I make my way over to  SASC to receive help. This quote also reflects my life as a gymnast. My coach, Gary, would always push me to my limit, encourage me to try harder skills or sometimes even fix skills that need tweaking. It was always a non stop process of trying new things or improving old ones and because of that I became one of the best on my team. He noticed problems with my skills that I wouldn’t think of unless he was there, whether that be what my landing looked like, the amount of steps I’m taking before reaching the vault or sometimes at tiny, but important, as pointing my toes.

Within these different experiences I have gained many skills that I would not have been able to achieve on my own if it wasn’t for the help of my coaches academically and athletically. Learning from coaches in these two ways has helped me improve my skills in these two areas, I know what to look out for in certain situations and can correct myself when I’m on my own.

Gawande’s speech was meant to make his audience realize that even if you’re good at something,  there’s always room for improvement. And although one may think their work is perfect someone will always catch onto issues that aren’t seen by the person and doing this will help them learn for next time.