Breaking The University Cherry

Last year, and a good portion of this school year I’ve been rather silent on my blog. For those of you that have read my previous posts you know that this is because I started University and haven’t had the time to work on the blog and get everything I needed to do for school done. So, I figured that this would be a good time to talk about my first year of university.

For those that have been to university, you know it can be hard. So the following is my top 10 moments of first year university:

1) I found a few friends that I wouldn’t give up for the world. If you know me, you know that I have many acquaintances but very, very few people I would consider close to me or even a friend for that matter making this quite the momentous occasion.

2) Exam Chicken. Yes, I said it.. I brought an entire christmas feast including a cooked chicken to an exam and it was amazing.

3) I became more confident and comfortable with my art work in a way that I have never felt before. It can be quite difficult to love your own art work, it’s kind of like trying to feel beautiful in your own skin. It takes a lot to get there, but when it happens it’s a wonderful thing

4) I met a teacher who was infuriating and endearing at the same time. No matter what I said or did he always knew exactly what I was doing, thinking, or saying. I pride myself on the fact that very few people actually know me well enough to do that and it was quite a hard pill to swallow that someone could just understand having never met me before. It was good for putting my ego in check though.

5) I made banana pancakes for some of my friends, and it was delicious.

6) I got the highest grades in first year than I had ever gotten in any schooling I’ve ever been in

7) I stood up for myself to people who were clearly trying to use me, and cut the tumors out of my social life. A much needed change

8) My significant other and I learned to allow for the distance that studying and school can cause in a relationship instead of allowing it to strain us to a breaking point

9) I almost failed a course, but then we had all of our grades raised by 20% because the entire class did poorly. Yay free marks!

10) I became Lobster girl. A very untactful girl asked me what gender I was, my reply was “Lobster” and then I promptly walked away like zoidberg. The girl even sounded a bit like Regina George in her delivery of that question.

and of course, this means that I have to list my top 10 blunders of my first year

1) I didn’t sleep very much, and instead spent that time studying

2) I was so burnt out by the end of semester 2 that it took me all summer and half of 2nd year to get over it

3) I was so stressed that everything got thrown off, eating, sleeping, working, loss of hobbies, etc,etc,etc everything went to the crapper more or less

4) I became a bit of a recluse and turned down a lot of invites for events and such

5) I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder

6) I ate far too much junk food and gained my freshman 15

7) I studied hard, but not efficiently

8) I started to swear 80x more than before

9) I lost my zest for anything other than school and let it consume everything, leaving me with no hobbies and little fun.

10) I got a little bit big headed at first with my new found confidence in my art, I do promise though that my exaggerated ego has since been popped .

That was my first year in a nut shell. If you’re entering first year make sure you eat right and start to exercise, it’ll be well worth it

Get The London Look

I’m sure everyone who owns and uses a TV has seen the ad for makeup that ends in the catch phrase “Get The London Look”. In case you don’t know, there is a single model for this add that has an issue with her teeth.

Get the London Look

Get the London Look

What I’ve found extremely interesting about this ad is that it seems as though they’ve purposefully picked a model with a flaw. What I’ve found even more interesting was the way people reacted to this model. Almost all reactions that I have experienced about this model are negative, nit picking her appearance starting from her teeth and moving on to the rest of her visage.

I find it very telling that in an era where companies have been glorified by showing depictions of real people in their campaigns, the first thing that we pick on in a commercial is the imperfections of this model. Take Dove for example, not only do they depict real women in their campaign but their parent company also owns Axe, a company often criticised for objectifying women and creating unattainable standards of beauty, yet Rimmel seems to be the face of hypocrisy.

This poor woman has even become and internet meme where people say “Get The London Look” and take a picture of themselves with an object against their teeth to pretend to put a space between them. This really annoys me for a number of reasons, but the main ones are as follows:

1) the majority of people who crucified this poor woman for her teeth, also glorified other companies that were just as hypocritical for using models who were imperfect.

2) This is another human being. she has thoughts, feelings, ideas,and imagination. She is someone’s friend, someone’s child, people grew up with her and know her as the girl next door or as the lady across the road. If someone in my life was publicly treated the way she was, I’d have more than a few choice words for those people and I’d be sure that each and every one of them  knew those words by heart.

3) If you are someone that cries for more attainable standards of beauty, call yourself a feminist, or a humanist, or anything of that nature then you are the problem. This has to be one of the worst sources of hypocrisy in that department that I’ve personally seen in a while. It’s frustrating for everyone involved when it is put to others that there is a need for attainable beauty standards unless you have ___________________ flaws.

It’s really frustrating to see this happen. That model is beautiful, tooth gap or not. Everyone, is beautiful in their own right. It’s up to us to find that beauty, not dwell on their flaws.

The Donation Debate

Recently, I’ve had an influx of people asking me to donate to this that and the other thing. It gets really frustrating because I can’t walk anywhere without someone being all “Excuse me can I take 5 minutes out of your day to talk about ___________”. They’re also super hard to shake off because no matter what you say they almost always have a come back to try and keep you there longer. However, this got me thinking, do I actually agree with donating to charities?

For me, personally, I don’t agree with giving to very many charities. Asides from the fact that I don’t have much money to donate as it is, I have a much larger reason for this. Many charities that we are asked to donate to repeatedly (whether on the street, in the mail, over the phone, on the radio, on tv, etc) give a very small portion of your actual donation to those that you’re donating to.

For example:

The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Federation, Oxfam America, etc, only give approximately 20-30 cents per every dollar that you give them. So, if you give these charities $20 every month at 0.2-0.3/1 you’re actually only donating $4- $6 to the fund you intended. The rest, goes to the charity staff through overhead fees.

This upset me to learn, but when I was explaining (more like complaining/ranting) about this to my parents their first response was to explain why this doesn’t surprise them. This upset me even more, not only because these charities are essentially consuming the majority of your donation, but because people seem to be okay with it! Why should we be complacent in this act? I’m not sure why we seem to be but it does annoy me severely that someone would donate to a charity for a cause that they’re essentially barely making a contribution to.

Now, this being the case not all charities are that bad. Some of them are actually extremely efficient with their overhead. Some of the most noteable that I’ve found are:

Save The Children, Unicef, and The Conservation Fun. These charities sit at a base overhead of 10% or less. This means that for every dollar you give them, at least 90 cents goes to their intended cause. Unlike the previous charities for every $20 you give them at 0.9/1 you will have donated $18 + to the intended cause.

This was a huge silver lining of a discovery for me. That being said though it makes me very cautious to give money to any charity. With this information in hand I now always go and look into any charity that I’ll be donating to as to see the bare bones of what I’m doing. If i’m giving someone my hard earned cash I’d like it to go to what I had the intention of giving money to.

Fun Fact: Strawberry Finn’s two favourite charities to give to are Toronto Brigantine and Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA), and has done work with both of them. To donate to them today feel free to go to their websites:

Toronto Brigantine: http://www.torontobrigantine.org/

ACSA: http://www.agincourtcommunityservices.com/

Also, disclaimer: I haven’t researched a lot of this stuff in a while, but I have searched them before. My references were in a paper that I wrote about a year ago, so some of the specific charities I list may have changed the percentage that they actually put to the cause they advertise. The point that there are charities that put almost all of your money to overhead still stands true, and we must be careful as to how and what we put our money to.

I Left The Lights On

Hello there stranger, okay I’m going to be honest here I know I haven’t posted in quite some time and since the school year has started I’ve had to kind of let the blog slip because I wasn’t finding enough time to get all my projects done and blog. Usually my blog posts have a fairly substantial amount of research behind them about different arguments towards the subject and that helps me to build up my argument and sometimes even switch sides of it all together. I simply don’t have the time to do that anymore, so that being said I’m trying my best to find a way to fix this and I’d like to thank all of the people that still follow my blog for sticking with me even in my absence. 

 

now, if you don’t mind I’d like to continue the post that was the reason I came back to the blog to try and rapidly get this post out there on my 15 min study break. 

 

I was re-watching an old video about a guy who has severe OCD but fell in love with a woman. I think that for me the second time around had more impact. The first time I watched this I will admit that I cried because he does say some pretty serious things towards the end (though there’s a ton of serious things in the very short video). The second time though I actually had to try and stop myself from bawling because I noticed so much more in him. The way that you could really really see the pain in his eyes or the way that it seemed when he went into his language loops you could see he’d like nothing more than to be able to shut himself up and continue, There’s just so much that you can take out of this video of a man just standing there talking to an audience. I want to encourage everyone to re-watch this video (even if today is the first time you’re seeing it wait a day or two and watch it again) there’s something so profoundly tragic here that I don’t think I could do it justice by just typing something out. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnKZ4pdSU-s

 

also, check out some of his other work (I particularly like his poem called the mating habits of the north american hipster)

 

Wanted Dead Or Alive

Recently I’ve been re-reading the majority of my posts here and I realized that it would be very easy for people to believe I’m an extremely jaded young person. For this reason I would like to open my blog to anyone that would like to post here by simply sending me an e-mail at strawberryfinn@live.com. I’ve had a few of them over the year and so that I’ve had this blog and I’d like to continue them. Even if you have suggestions feel free to comment them here or e-mail them to me. This blog isn’t just for me, it’s for you as well.

The Russell Brand Revolution

I know that I try and keep away from talking about celebrities on this blog, but I believe this will be one of my very few exceptions.  See, the reason why he’s my exception is because he is one of only 2 celebrities I have seen that I can honestly say,  if I can be 1/1 millionth as influential as they are, I’ve lived a damn good life.

I don’t believe in having heroes that I don’t personally know (as my biggest hero is my father), and I certainly don’t believe in having heroes that are so far out of my socioeconomic group that the chances of me ever meeting them and being able to sit down and have an intelligent conversation with them is almost nothing. Russel Brand, and George Carlin are the only two to have been able to make such an impact in my life that I feel they’ve really give me something to aspire to.

The aspirations given to me by these two extremely intelligent men isn’t to be rich, live a high life, or any of what most of the celebrities I see being glorified by today’s youth push. They remind me to think critically, fight for what I believe in, not to let anyone or anything keep me down or push me around, to continuously learn, see and think about everything that’s around me, and don’t take things for face value. They’ve also taught me other lessons like sincerity, never forgetting where you came from, listening to other peoples perspective, taking what those people say into consideration, openness, and being willing to understand.

This is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I wanted a place where I could think critically and explain my thoughts and rational all the while giving others a new place that they can look for or go to for open debate. I came here to learn from my viewers, showcase those that wanted a space to share their opinion, and to fight for what I believe in. I don’t know if I’ve impacted another life (certainly no where near as many as they have), opened a mind, helped someone express themselves, or risen up for someone who couldn’t then I can honestly say that I’ve done my job.

Russell brand in particular connects with me because of his reminder recently (in this video: http://gawker.com/russell-brand-may-have-started-a-revolution-last-night-1451318185?autoplay=1 ) that he is okay with who he was, and he’s still working on himself. He’s now a rich man but he never forgot that he came from a life where he had little to no money. He fights for you, me, and every other common person because he knows what it’s like and he has stayed humble. For this reason I want to join part of his revolution at the very least. I want to rise up and join his cause. I want to show that my intellect, my learning, and my vocabulary is a currency all on it’s own and I do not need to be rich to have a voice.

With that I’d like to just remind you that learning and proving people wrong can be one of the most powerful things that we can do. We may not end up famous, but that doesn’t mean no one will remember us.

How To Make An Awesome Blog In 5 Easy Steps

There are a lot of cliche posts out there about this.. you have to admit with so many get rich quick schemes out there and so many other blogs it’s hard to think about even putting yourself out there sometimes because a lot of people feel that their work will be swallowed into the deep dark pit that is the internet.

 

The truth is though that having my 2 blogs has been one of the best things I could have possibly done . It allowed me a space to be myself and speak my mind, post things for others that I feel might make a difference in the life of someone else, and share the good times in my life (though this blog can get a tad cynical .. sorry.. that’s just the way I am)

 

I’ve decided that one of my many posts on this blog should be to help others take that first step in blogging (In honour of this blogs anniversary that past a month or so ago). To tell you the truth I’ve had a lot of failed blogs and my 2 current ones now are my only successful ones.. ever. That being said though I have learned so much over the past year and from all my failed attempts, so now I’d like to tell you everything that I’ve learned (and it will most likely be more than 5 steps)

 

#1) Be yourself. If you make a blog to be someone else you should probably keep it to yourself (unless you’re making a blog as if you were a specific character or something.. like impersonating iron man, in which case please send me the link!)

 
 
#2) Be selfish, make the blog for yourself. In case you’re thinking of making a blog don’t do it only for everyone else to read, do it for you. Use it as if it were an extension of you (like my art blog, it’s mainly for my own reference but I thought perhaps others would like to use it for that too and we could grow together thus helping others while I help myself)
 
 
#3)  Don’t feel shy about sharing your opinion (But, be smart about it. Don’t fall for internet trolls and make sure to state what you’re thinking clearly) 
 
 
#4)  Enjoy your blog. if it becomes a chore maybe it’s time to make some revisions (and don’t forget to make your followers aware of that)
 
 
#5) If you already know what you want your blog to be about research other blogs to figure out what works and what doesn’t (but take it with a grain of salt because what works for you may not work for someone else. this step is actually a suggestion) 
 
#6) Make a blog. (Start posting but pace yourself or you’ll run out of things to write very quickly. If you want to get your ideas out write drafts to add to and publish later or que your posts)
 
Once you’ve done this you’ve got all the tools you need to learn and grow with your blog and followers. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be posting something like this too, and on that day I hope you remember what you learned here.
 
Happy Blogging