Thursday, April 7, 2016


by Gabriel Gonzales
This is an old coat that you’ve probably seen me wear a couple times around the college and in some classes.  It’s my favorite coat for several reasons.  I’ve had it since freshman year in high school.  But it also represents an idea I’ve had about myself for a long time.  A misconception.  I remember taking the MBTI, an accurate personality test.  And what it came down to was that I was introverted. Almost all the way introverted.  And as my hoodie got worse and worse and torn and worn, people would always ask me why I kept wearing it.  And one of my many reasons was “To keep people away, because I’m introverted.  I don’t like people or being around them.  I’m anti-social.”  I was of course, pretty far off on what Introversion was.

What Am I?
I came up with the idea that I was lonely and anti-social because of how society tends to treat introversion.  Because society and our school system tends to treat extroversion with praise and almost punishes introversion.  Extroverts are praised for being outgoing and talkative while introverts may be pushed to the side so to speak because they are quiet and reserved and seem unfriendly.  Kids are urged to be always active and always wowing a crowd.  This is where the misconception lies.  Most people in class have said that extroversion is “Being outgoing and talkative” while being introversion is being “quiet and reserved’.  Which is right, but it runs deeper than that.  Extroverts are defined as people who interested in things that are not themselves such as physical and social environments, while introverts are people who are more interested in their own thoughts and feelings and less in social interactions. This means that extroverts find satisfaction and gratification from outside sources like people and social events, while introverts find theirs through reflection on themselves and their ideas.

Am I wrong?
Another question I asked myself is am I wrong?  Because to reiterate, I was sort of taught that being extroverted was better.  Extroversion meant happiness and positivity while introversion was mean and people hating.  A flaw of the school system is we’re taught to think one way or another, disregarding personality.  The truth is neither personality is wrong or right.  A common misconception being that introverts are afraid of people or social interaction.  They’re afraid of being up in front of class and giving speeches and have panic attacks when they’re at parts or other gatherings.   In reality it’s not a matter of fear or emotion at all.  Introverts just don’t feel the need to talk unless they need to.  Otherwise it would be almost a waste of energy for them, in the same sense that extroverts may feel exhausted or agitated if they’re forced to be by themselves or away from people.  They need to get out and feel free.  Introverts feel free speaking and using their energy the way they feel comfortable.  It has nothing to do with fear, the same way extroversion doesn’t have anything to do with boldness or courage.  They don’t fear interaction, they would just rather do something that brings them fulfillment, like anyone else.

What should I do to change myself?
Nothing.  The truth is if you are introverted or extraverted, there’s little you can do to change your core personality, and you should never try to change yourself or ever feel the need to.  Each personality has advantages and disadvantages and both can function normally in society.  One no less than the other.  It should never keep you from your goals or interacting with people.  The idea that one personality is better than the other is a norm of society that isn’t true.

What should I do about it?
If you are introverted like I am, maybe being at school and around people can be more tiring than it would be if we were extroverted and liked being around lots of people or in a big group, and that’s fine.  We simply need a little more prep time for it.  Especially for me with these kinds of speeches.  It may seem like this is easy for me and that talking in class is easy.  I may even seem extroverted to some, but it is because I practicing speaking with people, beforehand and afterwards.  I reflect on myself and make plans for myself for what I need to do.  Whether it is to prepare for a speech like this or simply hanging out with friends.  Don’t ever sacrifice your personality for anything.

When dealing with an extrovert, try not to pressure them into “coming out of their shell” or being more outgoing.  Introverts can be very outgoing when they choose to.  It’s just not something they naturally do.  They may love to talk to people and share their thoughts and even go to parties, but it’s just not something they like to do.  The same way extroverts may like their peace and quiet and time to themselves, sometimes.  It’s like a natural habitat.  But, pressuring someone to do something not in their nature can be very stressing and exhausting for people.  Telling an introvert that they need to leave their shell and learn to be “positive and talkative” is wrong, in the same way when telling an extrovert to be quiet and to calm down and stop being so loud.  Imagine that you are the mother of an introvert, and your son’s teacher says comments like “Your child is lazy and too quiet in class!  He never wants to talk to the other students or asks for help!  I think you should have him evaluated, because he is just anti-social!”  It would have the same sting as if you were the mother of an extrovert, and you were told “Your child won’t settle down in my class and learn the way I want him to learn!  He always talks to other students and never shuts up!  He needs to be put on medication to help him calm down in my classroom!”

I Am Me, You are You.
For the longest time, I felt as if I was a bad person.  I didn’t know what I was, I thought I was wrong, I thought I needed to change and be extroverted to feel like I was perfect.  Like there was nothing I needed to do about my personality.  But it’s wrong to change your personality and be something you are not.  The focus of this speech was not to persuade you into think introversion was better or that extroversion is worse.  It is to inform people of what introversion actually is, because of a skewed view that society has on it currently.  Introverts function in society like anyone else.  Famous people who were introverts include that Einstein, Shakespeare, Bill Gates.  This doesn’t prove that they were geniuses because they were introverted or not extroverted, but because you can be anything and it isn’t dictated by one’s personality.  And each day I remember that when I struggle with my introversion and how I interact with people.  The answer I came up with to describe how to understand oneself and others, is “I am me, and you are you”.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lying Awake at Night

By Brooke Holley

Do you ever find yourself lying awake in bed during the wee hours of the morning? It’s at a time that’s too early to get up and begin your day but too late to really get much sleep anyways, just before the rays of early morning light come streaming in through your poorly covered window.

It’s at these times that I lay awake and think. It can be about some of the most complex things you could ever imagine, or it could be about some of the dumbest. With me, there’s really no in between.
One night, a few months ago, I came to the conclusion that there couldn’t possibly have been a beginning of the universe. I figured that Theists claim there must be a God, because nothing as complex and diverse as our planet could just pop into existence out of chance. Then, I figured that people of science claimed that there had to be a more definite answer than a God. 

Looking objectively at things, I considered all possibilities. I ignored my own bias towards science, because it would do me no good. Did I buy into The Big Bang? Of course. Could I easily discard that idea entirely if I found a single flaw in it? Without a doubt. And that’s exactly what I did.

There’s only a few laws and rules I actually know when it comes to science and all of that stuff. One of those laws is that matter cannot be destroyed nor created. So, everything that is stays. Sees become towering trees by transforming energy from soil, water, and sunlight into nutrients; which allow it to expand and grow. Matter isn’t being created, just changed into a different form.

If applied to everything in existence, there couldn’t be a beginning. The Big Bang no longer makes sense to me. An entire universe cannot expand from and infinitely dense point. If it’s infinitely dense, the universe doesn’t end. There for the idea that the universe is expanding only to suddenly stop one day and start shrinking is out of the question as well.

In my probably confused and mucky logic, I came to the conclusion that the universe has always been and will always be. Of course, it’s always changing. That’s never going to stop. The universe can never be destroyed and it can never grow. 

As humans we can’t seem to grasp the concept of there ever being a forever. We talk about it, sure. But we really don’t get it. We searched for answers, because we only know of beginning and ends. We all couldn’t possibly be content with the idea of God for forever, because it’s not in our nature. We are conceived, we live, and we die. There is a beginning and there is an end. It’s in everything we come into contact with.

What other things do I have to do in the early hours of the morning? Sleep? Pfft. Maybe next I’ll contemplate the meaning of life.

Good Game

by John O'Shields 

It's coming to a close. If you've lost track of the days and your syllabus, you need only look upon the haggard faces of the students as they drag themselves down the hall in yesterday’s sweatpants and jersey. Males have forgotten their hair product and females have reinvented the bun for the sake of the future. Cumbersome laptops have become too daunting or too precious to be seen lying about. Cheerful greetings have devolved into solemn nods laced with empathy and strained looks that beg for mercy. Even some professors have adopted the ritual of the piteous nod and they seem more human for the concession. Technology glitches are handled with poise and familiarity by professors who only scant weeks before grieved with the rest of us as we awed at the rose-haired salvation of a tireless and infinitely wise IT hero.

We scrutinized the thoughts and scholarly attempts of our peers with grace and respect. We cheered relentless teams and clubs and even individuals as we claimed one victory after the next in a wave of domination that left our big brothers looking our way, some for the first time. We wrestled with challenges and consoled those suffering failings. And we all became something more than when we began. We know more; about a sea of subjects and, perhaps more importantly, ourselves.

Here we stand, on the edge of the next step. Good game. Enjoy your well deserved reprieve.