My inspiration for this independent study came from my last year’s classes. In the first semester of Hiroshima to 911, I dived into the Communism unit by examining development Communism in several countries and completing a thorough research paper on the Communist system in Nicaragua. When our class engaged in a harkness discussion on our findings, I was fascinated by the varying expressions of Communist ideology in different countries. In the second semester, I explored the North Korea Nuclear Crisis and the Israel-Palestine Conflict by analyzing each side’s narratives. From watching a documentary accounting The Mass Games in North Korea, comparing a timeline of the nuclear crisis produced by North Korea and the U.S., to understanding the discrepancy of historical narratives in the book Side by Side, I had the opportunity to deliberately assess both sides’ reasoning in depth and draft potential compromises to mediate the conflict through my work on Model Diplomacy. It was through the analysis of merits to claims suggested by both sides that I realized the importance of having an “open mind” when it comes to learning history. Continue reading
This past summer, I flew back and forth between China and the US a lot, which meant I had to book plane tickets a number of times. During this process, I used a Chinese travel website called Ctrip, which my family has always liked and trusted. It is also the largest online travel agency in China. However, this time my experience was not so pleasant. The price for the tickets that I was looking at kept going up every time I returned from looking up similar tickets on other websites, which could be interpreted as normal since that price might go up as the date approached. The part that took me by surprise though was when I tried to log in using a different account and look at the same tickets on the same date, I found that the prices differed. I don’t recall the exact price gap but I just remember that it was enough for me to be upset and intrigued by it at the same time. After a brief search online, I found that there were already news reports accusing this company of manipulating their customers through the use of “big data.” This discovery deeply interested me. I could not help but started to wonder about questions like “How exactly are they using the data they collect to achieve their goal? How are other Internet companies like Netflix and Google using their data? What are the ethical implications of this? What impact does this have on our society as a whole?” Continue reading
Video Games have been a staple of my personal interest for as long as I can remember. At the age of five I clearly remember playing on my friend’s older brother’s PlayStation 2, and I instantly fell in love.
As of recently I have had a growing interest in how video games are made, and I am looking to pursue that interest in college. Thankfully the DigiPen Institute of Technology offers online high school classes. So this week I dove into the world of video game design, a world that I hopefully grow to love. Continue reading
In the past week, I studied Differential Equations through an MIT Online Open Course, which can be found here:
In this blog, I will introduce Differential Equations as well as some of the methods of solving or visualizing them. I will start from the place where most students left out since Calculus II to make it more comprehensible.
Differential Equations, also known as DE, means “an equation involving derivatives of a function of functions” (dictionary.com). Differential Equations have a broad application in subjects like Physics, Engineering, and Biology, which will be discussed in depth in my future blogs. The first several blogs, however, will be focusing on the math behind differential equations including how to solve and visualize the formulas.
One simple example of DE is , in which x is the independent variable and y is the dependent variable. Notice that taking integral is not a way to find a general solution of y; instead, we must employ a method called “Separation of Variables”. Continue reading
—-Project Initiation and Goal
While thinking about Traditional Chinese Medicine or Eastern medicine in general, many people would picture the acupuncture needles sticking out on the skin surface and a room with mysterious smell of herbal medicine. Many would even argue that Eastern medicine has no basis in science, and the proclaimed effects of herbal medicine or acupuncture are merely placebo effects. While thinking about Eastern medicine, however, many would perhaps picture an operating room occupied by high-tech equipments and surrounded by doctors holding scalpels. Continue reading
I have spent roughly 45% of my time towards this project transcribing interviews….It is one of the hardest and most tedious tasks, especially if your interviews typically run between 30 – 60 minutes. I considered, for a moment, just simply sending my interviewees a list of questions I would like them to answer and having it be simpler
But I quickly shrugged the idea of because of one thing:
Tangents have become the core of my content when I am writing articles. When my interviewees go off on tangents, they are almost always something they are passionate about, or it is story worthwhile. You cannot capture these tangents by sending them a list of questions.
It is through these tangents that I begin to understand someone’s work and passions, and I learn who they are to their core. I get to see them and understand them and relate to them and have a conversation with them.
And though transcribing is…..interesting
a living, breathing hell. Without face to face interviews, my content would not be nearly as rich or as vibrant as it is, and it is all thanks to tangents.
Before I wrap up, I just wanted to give you all some updates:
- Our social media pages are up! You can follow us on Instagram @TheGirlNarrative!
- WE LAUNCH MAY 2ND!
- We are on track for our goals, including having our website be 75% completed
- We have created an email as well (email@example.com)!
- We have met with Westtown Communications (I had a meeting with Anne Burns today) and they have agreed to give us press after our launch
- On our current team, we have a transcriber, a web designer, a digital artist, and I am currently on a hunt for a social media manager and an editor
- We are scheduled to have 5 interviews this week!
- I am remembering to breathe, despite the fact that I am simultaneously elated and panicking
Inspired by putting one foot in front of the other
CEO and Founder of The Girl Narrative
Transcribing…the enemy of any and all journalists. It is time consuming, tedious, and can even be soporific. Though at the same time, it invokes a sense of excitement.
But then I began to ask myself…why am I excited to transcribe my interviews if transcribing can be so dreary? Transcribing can be a pain: why am I excited for it? Turns out, I answered my own questions as I began to transcribe interview after interview.
As I was transcribing an interview I had with Gauri Kapoor (the founder and CEO of The Girl and I), I began to map out what her article would look like. I began to create sections, quotes, and format in my mind as I was typing and writing out her interview, and then it dawned on me: I was excited because I had concrete material and content.
Trying to describe this and the excitement it brings is somewhat challenging, so here’s an analogy that might help: imagine you are a painter. You are about to start a new piece that you are going to put all of your energy towards. You walk into your studio, and you only have about three colors. So…you work with the three colors. You begin to create something amazing, but then you get more materials. You get more colors and brushes and your piece really starts to come to life.
My piece is this organization. I am putting everything I have into this organization, and I am beginning to get material. With each interview, I get new colors and brushes that are going to make my painting amazing; I get new perspectives and new stories that are going to make my organization amazing.
So as I do these mundane, dreary, and sometimes excruciating tasks, I let my creativity explode with new ideas and new ways to make my painting amazing
Inspired by the little things,
Founder and CEO of Project G.I.R.L
Kapoor, Gauri. “Home.” The Girl And I, 2018, http://www.thegirlandi.com/.
I have shifted some aspects of my timeline, but I still have kept up fairly well with what my goal was. I haven’t started Greece yet, but instead have extended my research in religion in Ancient Egypt so I can cover more provide more depth experience for the reader as well as myself. I never planned to write nearly 30 pages on religion in Ancient Egypt, but I continued to compile notes. I have come up with a method that suits me rather well, which is taking a multitude of notes, printing out sources, highlighting and taking notes on those, and then typing it all up once I have compiled everything. I do a lot at once so I can get more work done that way, though I save my opinions for the actual writing. It has been difficult writing my opinions without directly saying “I” or coming off too strong about them, I have to more or less incorporate them and not just focus on my perception, but every other one. I am doing just as well as I hoped I would. I am almost done with Ancient Egypt, all I have to do is another page or so of marriage and then I go right to Nefertiti, and then I’m done Egypt until I go back and edit. I have to repeat this whole process with Greece, and given that I wrote 50 pages for Ancient Egypt within two weeks, I am confident about Greece. I have already begun research on it. I just have to go back and do the very general introduction on the progression of women in society. Specifically I need to look at my notes from The Creation of Patriarchy to set the tone for the rest of my book. I have also been developing an underlying thesis for my whole book, and it is essentially that women have been persecuted despite being pillars of society through the development and ultimate triumph of patriarchy as the organizing power structure. Women have been needed, but overlooked to support the male need for society and civilization, especially in these Ancient Societies.
So far this semester, I have been dedicating most of my time to primary sources. To begin with, I researched the nature of medieval chronicle sources, which provide the most abundant material for the reign of Richard II, and then examined some of the principle chroniclers in more depth. My analyses can be found in my last few blog posts (here, here, and here). Over spring break, I worked on reading many of the sources complied in A. K McHardy’s The Reign of Richard II: From Minority to Tyranny, 1377-97. This book has been something of a godsend for my project, since it offers an extensive collection of the most important primary sources from the reign translated from the original Latin, French, and Middle English into modern English. Needless to say, McHardy’s efforts have made my work significantly easier.
Reading the many chronicle excerpts, correspondences, parliamentary petitions, etc. included in the book could certainly be tedious at times. My purpose in this task was to identify any mention of Richard’s royal affinity, since this is the focus of my research. However, since these sources tend to bounce between many different goings-on in the political world, it is quite difficult to tell if any given source will mention the affinity or not. Therefore, my only option was to examine them all. This task was made less daunting by concentrating on the period after 1387, when it is likely that Richard first began directly seeking out the loyalty of prominent men in the localities. In the future, I may need to go back to some earlier sources in order to obtain a reference for the nature of the king’s affinity at the beginning of the reign.
Digging into the primary sources made me realize that I need to obtain some more information about political society in general at the time of Richard’s reign. For the most part, I have only looked at the medieval concept of the affinity in the context of the king, when it was in fact of great importance to the magnates as well and was a crucial component of feudal society in the localities. Interestingly, it is often pointed out that while completely novel for a king, the locally focused approach to retaining pursued by Richard in the 1390s was very similar to that typically used by magnates. Therefore, I feel that in order to understand the significance and logic of Richard’s policy, it is important to familiarize myself with the way in which magnate affinities were organized and operated during this time. Thus, my next task will be to step back momentarily from the lens of Richard II and focus on some readings pertaining to local political structures in the late medieval period more generally. After doing this and perhaps examining some more primary sources, it is my hope that I will have gained enough direction to begin drafting my final paper.
One paragraph reads:
“The girls themselves are conflicted about social media. They possess a critical attitude towards it but often seem un-self-reflective in their own practices. Girls, they acknowledge, post pictures of their assets because they get more “likes” that way. And if the boys like you, the girls at school will, too. However, many feel that the girls posting cleavage are insecure and doing it for attention. Many feel uncomfortable because they feel like girls are in competition with each other to look the most attractive. And yet most of these same girls admit that they participate in similar behavior because they want attention, too. And they say they can’t give up social media because they would then “have no lives”–even though the lives they describe seem stressful and isolating. These young teenage girls then grow into college students who mourn the hookup culture, feeling compelled to participate even though they say it makes them unhappy and they despair of ever finding a man who is truly interested in them and not their bodies.”
– Nancy Jo Sales, author of ‘American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers
The author of the blog post, which is a reflection of this book, then goes on to discuss how ‘one-sided’ the book seems- and I agree. The biggest issue with this post is the extreme generalizations going on here; the author simply refers to these people as ‘girls’ and ‘boys’, which does not specify even an age or any other specifics. This leads me to believe that this author is extremely biased towards the negativity of social media on all young boys and girls, believing that it is creating a generation of attention-seeking girls who will do just about anything to appeal to the masses. Also, notice the lack of attention on the male perspective. Just as the author discusses the hyper-sexualization of girls, she also easily dismisses young men as disrespectful and objectifying misogynists. What is this saying about our society? Even if the moral of the story is focused on the destructiveness of social media on young girls, why is the author portraying these girls as if they are unable to resist harmful new trends? We should not be focusing on the girls’ inability to resist but why they feel as though it is necessary for them to take part in destructive behavior such as sending explicit photos to other young boys. The author of the book later discusses how worrying this is for parents; they believe that any teenager with a cellphone will automatically use it to expose themselves or others. Even this statement suggests that angsty, curious, and rebellious teenagers are indeed the root of the problem here, when that is not the case. This type of language possibly even supports a culture of victim-blaming, body shaming, and oppression of female sexuality.
On the other hand, a part of me does understand where the author is coming from. Any adult looking in on the world of social media and hearing horror stories of girls who expose themselves on the internet would assume that our generation of young women aren’t anything admirable. However, it is absolutely wrong of us to believe that statement comes solely from a young woman’s own inability to make good decisions. Our generation is dealing with a completely new aspect of society: constant connection. And although that comes with many benefits, it also allows young people very easy access to negative things such as expectations of beauty or ability to immediately make absolutely anything known to the world. But when adults and authors like Nancy Jo Sales make the decision to break down the girls instead of the horrendously toxic circumstances they are under, young girls themselves will continue to shame each other and believe that blaming one another is the path they should take. If that’s all they know, why wouldn’t they?
Perhaps one of the first steps towards a better understanding is for adults assessing the topic to change their tone of voice- instead of criticizing an entire generation of girls and discrediting their abilities to make logical choices, ask, how can we help? Where are you coming from? How do you think your experience is different than mine, and how can I better understand? If, as a society, we can offer alternative interpretations of young female behavior instead of shaming or demeaning them, and if we further our research in this area to assure accurate causality, we will be uplifting an entire generation and defining appropriate next steps.