Dear Future College Writing 112 Students,
Welcome to UMass Amherst! Now that you’re taking this class, I hope you’re really ready to work on you writing skills. I know that some of us have gotten used to just skating by in our high school writing courses; As long as it was the right length and had correct grammar you would do fine, right? Well that’s not how this course will be for you at all. Along with each unit’s final essay come a number of generative writing prompts and some type of homework assignment for each class period. These may seem unnecessary and more like busy work to you, but when you’re up all night doing them last minute, trust me when I say that it really does help your writing process. And one thing that I have learned in this class is the importance of the process itself. Without organizing your ideas slowly but surely, the end product will be less of an A-worthy essay and more of a careless mess. We all know that anything that can be called a careless mess won’t get you anywhere in life, and it certainly won’t get you any sort of good grades in class, so just do yourself a favor and go along with everything your professor says.
Before this course I had always enjoyed writing, but I was extremely picky about what I wrote. I thought I was really only good at creative writing so that was all I wanted to do. Give me a research paper and I would spend weeks stressing about it only to end up doing it at the last minute. What this class taught me was that you can make all types of writing interesting. I liked creative writing because that was when I could use my own tone and style and say what I really wanted to say. Well, nobody said that research papers had to be boring. In high school we were taught the basic five paragraph essay style: You had an intro, three body paragraphs, and a summary. If you happened to choose your own approach and stray from this format at all you would only lose points. Sure, this style may be perfect for SAT’s and other strictly academic tests that can never keep your attention, but nobody wants to read something that dry and boring in real life. As a writer, it’s up to you to make the reader want to continue reading to see what you have to say.
Along with a broader sense of how to write, one thing that was really drilled into our heads was the importance of revision. Peer revision, teacher revision, self-revision, almost anyone you can get to read your essay and give you feedback will only help you in the end. I’ll admit that I was never much into the whole peer editing and revising thing. I was always proud of my own writing and I didn’t appreciate when other people told me how they thought it should be. I was especially irritated at the idea of having separate due dates for each draft. I thought this was completely unnecessary, and that I would have been just fine getting the whole essay done once and for all instead of slowly editing it step by step. Back in high school, there were even a few times when I would write the whole final essay the night before it was due and then go back and write versions that I would pass off as the drafts if those would also be collected. Take my word for it, though, that kind of thing is not going to fly in this class. If you fall behind with one draft, or even one assignment for that matter, you will have a world of trouble trying to catch up and keep up with the rest of the class. Not only that, but if you don’t take the time to revise properly, your writing won’t end up being all that it could possibly be. College Writing 112 has taught me that peer reviews and revision in general really are important and helpful. After all, what better way is there to know how your audience is going to perceive your writing than by having an actual audience member tell you exactly what they think about it? To be honest, at first I will still so put off by the intensive peer editing that I would stubbornly only change the slightest details in my essay. It wasn’t long before I realized the critiques were actually spot-on, though, and that that it really was all worth it. Each draft goes through intensive editing, both by your peers and yourself, and this is necessary because there will be no leniency on the grading of your final essay. It definitely doesn’t come easy, but with lessons on sentence structure, context, narrowing for a specific audience, concision, and of course grammar, there’s no excuse not to have a suitable essay in the end.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t think this class improved my writing skills. I always thought of myself as a skilled writer before, but now I can say that I’m skilled at more than just one type of writing. I can even write a research paper without it sounding long and drawn out, which is something I never thought I would be saying about myself. I can honestly say that this class, and specifically the different styles of each unit essay, have defined and varied my writing skills. I’m not one to brag, but I’d like to think that all of my finished essays were as they should have been in the end. My mom literally put one of my final essays on the fridge. Still getting work put on the fridge in college? I’d like to think that in a way I earned these good essays, considering all the work that was put into each and every one. Though I may have initially complained about all of the work, College Writing 112 brought the true writer back out in me.
Now that you’ve heard all about College Writing 112, you probably have some concerns. As long as you do all of your work on time and pay attention to the lessons and feedback you get, I can assure you that you’ll do fine. I will warn you though, Freshman English classes may seem like no big deal, but you really have to take this one seriously to get out of it in one piece in the end. I hope I didn’t scare you too much, and I hope that what I said can really help you. I wish you all the best in this course and all of your others in your freshman year!
Dear College Writing 112 Student,
As a stranger it would be rude of me not to formally introduce myself. My name is Jacob Schissel, a sophomore here at UMass. As far as writing goes, let’s just say I was never the best at it. Sure I can put a sentence together just fine, heck I can even string a few ideas together here and there. But when it comes to good writing I would recommend reading any of the works written by the author Not J. Schissel. My writing is shallow and meaningless. I put pen to paper for the sake of grades, not because I am a troubled artist or an insightful person. If I ever do write a book one day, it will include a long preface that specifically states that I did it for the money and only the money. That being said, I do know what good writing LOOKS like. With my experiences in the famed 112 and years of high school AP level English courses, I have more than enough knowledge stored away in me ole noggin’ to hopefully prepare you for college writing.
Chronology is always something I appreciate when it comes to explaining and understanding things. Therefore, I might as well start right at square one, or rather Unit I. Oh, the memories. Unit I, in my opinion, was the best of the semester. What made it so enjoyable was the fact that it was mind numbingly easy. Minimal thinking required. The topic you ask? Write about anything that has personal meaning to you. That’s it. You can write about how you felt when you were preparing to go to college or why you are still haunted about that time you threw up on your crush at the prom after party. Obviously some topics provide more depth than others, but if you can generate any sort of meaning out of an event or memory, you have a great opportunity to get creative and write about something that truly matters to you. My suggestion would be to ease yourself into college writing with a fun essay that you enjoy creating. There are no sources to check with, no facts to be accurate about, just you, your thoughts, and Microsoft Word.
As with most things in life the further down the road you travel the tougher the going gets. A good analogy for this class would be riding a bicycle. Unit I is comparable to riding around on training wheels. Its fun, its a new experience; you’re learning. The time given to complete the unit is long enough to edit everything you write a billion times over, and by the time you finish the portfolio you feel like you could take your four wheeled bike for a ride all the way down the street and back. Then Unit II comes along. Unit II begins with your mean old dad armed with his trusty socket wrench. Just as you were feeling good about your writing, your dad takes that wrench to your bike’s training wheels and all of a sudden there’s a whole new learning curve. In Unit II you will be forced to bring outside works into your writing and create an argument either for or against a piece of writing. It is your job to add to the conversation. All of a sudden you need to be considerate of what another piece of writing has to offer and use outside sources to bolster your argument. My suggestion for this essay would be to find a piece of writing that you feel strongly opinionated over. If there is an article that really ruffles your truffles, than it will help you put more of your own voice into your writing as you seek to prove/disprove the thesis of the written work. Be sure to back up your opinions with sources and you should have no problem with this essay.
Now imagine that your dad is a real jerk. You’ve finally gotten used to riding around on your bike without the training wheels, and you feel more than great. You can ride all the way to your friends house and back without falling off. But just as you were getting comfortable on two wheels, your old man takes your bike away and gives you a unicycle. Welcome to Unit III. From my experiences with College Writing 112 I would consider this the most difficult of the units. The theme of Unit III is using research to formulate an argument of your own. In actuality this unit can be very entertaining if there is a particular subject you enjoy debating, but the amount of effort you must put into this essay is substantially higher than the other two previous units. What makes this one challenging is the amount of outside information you need to gather to formulate the best argument you possibly can. This requires hours going through texts trying to extract valuable information you can use. Its long, arduous work, but this unit really helped me better understand the incorporation of research into a paper. I learned how to construct an argument and support my stance with clear, logical writing. Don’t let this unit overwhelm you. It offers you a great chance to learn how to draw on outside information to enhance your own writing and was certainly a learning experience.
From there the going actually gets easier. Turns out dad wasn’t as mean as you thought, and because you gave your best effort on the unicycle he bought you one of those fancy battery operated Power Wheels for Christmas. Sure you still have to learn how to drive the thing, but it takes only takes all of thirty seconds to find the power switch and find out what the little plastic gas pedal actually does. In Unit IV we had to use photographs to help elaborate on a specific memory in our lives. In many ways it resembled Unit I where we had to place something personal to us into context, but we got to use pictures to summarize half of the writing. I had a lot of fun with this essay. It gives you a chance to let your creativity flow and reflect on some great memories that you wish to write about. For an essay that’s due in mid spring when the weather’s getting warm and school’s almost out, it wasn’t difficult and was actually a rather enjoyable project.
I would tell you about Unit V, but I’ve already hit the word cap on this essay, so I’ll let it be a surprise. For now just soak in all that I’ve so tirelessly explained and know that you have nothing to fear about college writing. You may suffer some long nights building a bibliography or fiercely revising your drafts, but when you finally complete this course you’ll feel as though you’ve accomplished something and will have a refined skill that will only help you at what ever it you do in life. As long as you know what to expect from this class, I’m sure you’ll do fine. So go get um’ kid. The experience is what you make of it, and I’m sure you’ll do just fine.
War. To many Americans it has become a painful subject in the wake of two indefinite conflicts that our country is still struggling to conclude. In the past decade American families have lost nearly 5,000 of their loved ones to Middle Eastern wars; a price tag that our country has not paid since the Vietnam Conflict. On top of these losses, the government has spent billions of dollars to fund these wars and the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan will be forever scarred by years of violent conflict. After all of this sacrifice we would like to look forward to hopeful years of peace. We would like to say that order has been restored to the Middle East and that from this point forward we can rely on diplomacy to resolve our issues abroad. Unfortunately, we stand on the verge of yet another conflict in the region. Our enemy: Iran. This time nuclear weapons are in fact at stake, and there can be no debate between peace and war. It is once again time to gear for the fight.
With the destruction of the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein, Iran has moved into the spotlight as the Middle East’s quasi-superpower. With one of the largest militaries and petroleum exports in the region, Iran’s government in Tehran has seen a massive increase in international influence and persuasion since 2005 when their current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected into office. Ahmadinejad has become well known on the world stage for his strong anti-western/Israeli rhetoric and his defiant acts of developing a nuclear program despite strict U.N. policies that prevent his government from pursuing such technology. As one New York Times article stated; “In February 2010, the United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declared for the first time that they had extensive evidence of past or current undisclosed activities’ by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead, an unusually strongly worded conclusion likely to accelerate Iran’s confrontation with the United States and other Western countries” (Iran’s Nuclear Program, New York Times). According to another New York Times article covering Iran’s government, “Since 2005, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been a divisive figure in world affairs, cheering on the development of the country’s nuclear program despite orders from the United Nations to halt it and calling for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map’” (Iran, New York Times). For the past six years Ahmadinejad has been threatening Israel, the United States, and Europe with the increasing developments of his nuclear program.
Although the Iranian government asserts that its nuclear research and development is strictly for peaceful means, there is high speculation among Western nations and Israel that Iran’s nuclear capabilities could be a dangerous threat to international security. There is plenty of evidence to back up this theory. Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Islamist government of Iran has been calling for an end to Western influence in the Middle East and has refused to recognize Israel as a nation. Between 1979 and 2012, diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran have been damaged by hostage crises, U.S. backing of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, and several sanctions and embargoes placed on Iran by the U.S. Now tensions have risen again in the wake of Iran’s up-and-coming nuclear program. As another New York Times article stated; “Iran and the West have been at odds over its nuclear program for years. The dispute has picked up steam since November 2011, with new findings by international inspectors, tougher sanctions by the United States and Europe, threats by Iran to shut the Strait of Hormuz to oil shipments and Israel signaled increasing readiness to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities” (Iran’s Nuclear Program, New York Times). Today, Iran now has several ways in which to attack
the United States and the threat is increasing with every minute Iran is given to develop its nuclear facilities.
Iran has already tested and produced ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching Israel, a nation that Iran has openly vowed to destroy. Within the next couple of years Iran will have missiles that can reach Western Europe. The Iranian military has developed unmanned drones that have already flown missions over northern Israel and are capable of carrying explosive payloads. “Death to America and Israel” has become popular slogans of the government. Iran has also extensively backed a terrorist organization based in Lebanon known as Hezbollah. Since its foundation in 1982, Hezbollah has attacked U.S. servicemen and citizens throughout the Middle East. Their attacks have already taken nearly 300 American lives to date, and are a powerful tool in the hands of the Iranian government. Hezbollah agents number upwards of 6,000 volunteers and have control of an estimated 15,000 missiles in their arsenal. They alone have threatening potential to strike both Israel and U.S. assets throughout the Middle East. Combined with an Iranian military of over 500,000 men strong armed with Russian and Chinese weapons, Iran has more than enough weapons at its disposal to assert dominance over the region and pose an immediate threat to Israel, the U.S., and its allies. All of this potential danger is significantly increases if Iran is given the time to develop nuclear weapons.
The window of opportunity for which the United States to act is quickly closing. U.S. officials speculate that Iran is within 1-3 years of developing a nuclear weapon, and the numbers of nuclear facilities are rapidly growing throughout the country. Despite strict U.N. sanctions against Iran and an international demand for a halt to the program, Iran has defied foreign diplomacy and has continued to develop its nuclear technology. As Richard L. Russell put it in his chapter of Joachim Krause’s Iran’s Nuclear Programme,
“Many commentators stridently reject the idea of employing military options for dealing with Iran’s nuclear activities. They argue that force will not “solve” the problem. But problems in international relations are rarely, if ever, solved. They have to be managed, contained, and worked on the margins to move international stability toward more favorable outcomes. And so it is it is with Iran’s nuclear
problem- it has to be managed. Military force is a viable instrument of statecraft
with which to physically destroy and disrupt Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.”
Iran has proven that it is unwilling to cooperate with Western demands, and the time has come for drastic measures. Iran must be forced to face a U.N. or U.S. issued ultimatum; cease nuclear research or face war. When they refuse we cannot hesitate over the argument between peace and war. We must be prepared to halt at nothing to stop a nuclear Iran, and war is increasingly becoming the only option.
The military option is not as farfetched as it would appear to be. In a post Iraq/Afghanistan America, the prevailing image of war is that of large U.S. occupational forces with a nearly impossible goal of nation rebuilding and eliminating an almost invisible enemy. The conflicts we have fought in the Middle East in the past decade alone have drastically worn on American morale and the United States budget. As a nation we are tired, but in the face of our new enemy we must once again stand strong and face the issue. But this time, we have the option of another strategy. Whereas Iraq and Afghanistan presented us with un-objectified conflicts, Iran has one identifiable target.
The aims of a U.S.-Iranian war would be relatively simple; to use our overwhelming assets to target and destroy all identified Iranian nuclear sites. Unlike our two recent wars that relied heavily on the deployment of a large number of ground forces, the United States Navy and Air Force could essentially fight such a war alone with limited help from Army and Marine Corps forces (both of which have taken a huge majority of casualties in the recent conflicts). The military option could operate as follows: We issue an ultimatum to the Iranian government demanding they cease nuclear research and open the country to U.N. inspectors. Within the time that Iran has to respond, we warn friendly nations with nuclear advisors in Iran (namely Russia and China) that we will act upon our demands and that they must remove their advisors if they do not wish to be caught in the crossfire. Once we have given the world fair warning of our intentions and Iran fails to comply with our terms, we begin a limited military campaign with the sole purpose of destroying Iranian facilities with superior air power and ballistic missiles. One by one we can target Iran’s largest facilities such as Natanz and Qom and destroy their most advanced nuclear facilities. Along with the nuclear sites, Iranian Air Force facilities and anti-air capabilities can be targeted in the first wave to grant the U.S. full air superiority and drastically limit casualties to airmen. Once the main centrifuges and uranium enrichment capabilities have been effectively destroyed, we can open up peace negotiations. If the Iranian government fails to comply we can continue the campaign by targeting secondary sites such as uranium mines and smaller reactors then re-open talks. If they again reject our terms we can keep moving down the line of targets such as Iranian military bases and oil fields, both of which are crucial to the survival of the Iranian government. It is a war with clear objectives that comes at a very minimal cost to the lives of U.S. service men and the government budget.
That is not to say that there are not any risks. Iranian forces would not capitulate without a fight and would undoubtedly use every asset they have at their disposal to retaliate. With its military unable to attack our air forces, Iranian forces may seek to expand the conflict against
U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan or may invade a weakened Iraq and use civilians of these countries as hostages to negotiate for peace in their favor. Iran has potential to harass our navy using expanded mine fields and small, maneuverable boats loaded with explosives. They could launch the missiles they do have at their disposal at U.S. bases throughout the Middle East and at Israel. Iran would also likely deploy several terrorist cells to Israel, Europe, and perhaps even the United States in order to use civilian lives as a bartering tool. Also at Iranian disposal would be the Hezbollah, who could help expand Iran’s terrorist strategy of warfare. These are certainly the risks that come with war, but these risks are well worth the prevention of a nuclear armed Iran. As Russell states; “In short, the stakes would be high and risky for militarily striking Iran to set back its nuclear efforts, but the stakes and risks would likely be even higher were Iran allowed to acquire a nuclear weapons arsenal. The use of military force on balance would therefore be a useful and indispensable policy option for the international community” (Krause, 155). The time has come for American foreign policy to dominate Iranian nuclear decisions. War always comes with high stakes, but often times the greater risk lies in appeasement.
The time has come for choosing. As a nation do we retreat from pressures abroad or do we stand up to our enemies that insist on defying global standards? On the subject of the Cold War Ronald Reagan once said,
“Now let’s set the record straight. There’s no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there’s only one guaranteed way you can have peace - and you can have it in the next second - surrender. Admittedly, there’s a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face - that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender… You and I have the courage to stand up and say to our enemies ‘There is a price we will not pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance.’”
(Reagan, A Time for Choosing)
History is repeating itself. After a decade of war we are ready as a nation to accept peace at any price. We have been undoubtedly been weakened, but it must only strengthen our resolve. We must not let our enemies dictate standards and policies. The time has come to take a stand against Tehran and its actions toward nuclear advancement. If the results are war then we cannot back from the fight. It is time for a choice. It is time for action.
Dear Incoming College Writing 112 Students,
Writing essays is not particularly hard; it is writing a good essay that is difficult. Composing a well-written essay is time-consuming, stressful, and strenuous. Luckily, there are many tactics to making the process of writing much easier. Outlining and peer review were the most useful in helping me write all of my essays. Group discussions and homework assignments were also very helpful. Almost every exercise, in class or out, helped me understand and be able to analyze, cite, and write my essay in better and more creative ways.
Prior to writing one, I dreaded the pure thought of writing a research paper. It would be the first research paper I had ever written, and it seemed like it would be the most difficult thing I would ever write. To my surprise, it was the easiest unit throughout the entire semester. Rebecca Maillet, my College Writing instructor, had every student in the class outline their research papers before we started writing them. She also asked us to include at least one quote in each paragraph, and wanted us to analyze each quote. This was by far the most useful exercise in writing my essay. After I had outlined every major point I wanted to make, writing the essay was a breeze. Not only did the outline make the entire process of writing a research paper much easier for me, it also gave me the confidence and assurance that I needed to sit down and write a great essay.
The most enjoyable type of writing is a personal essay. It is the easiest to write without any prior preparation or exercises. Although personal essays are easy to write, that does not mean that each essay is well-written. You must organize your thoughts and word them correctly to affect readers the same way that you intend to. Personal essays are the most comfortable and satisfying essays to write because you can openly express your thoughts and opinions without having to compare them to others. Although you cannot always write a personal essay, you should try to include personal experience in every essay you write. Personal experience makes an essay more interesting and, often times, more relatable to the readers. Make sure to expand on your examples; do not simply include one or two lines and leave your readers with unanswered questions. Include vivid details, and be sure that the examples of experience you use relate directly to the subject of the essay or paragraph.
Don’t expect to receive an A in this class if you are not one to revise your essays. Every essay takes time to perfect; that is why peer revision is the most important factor in composing a great paper. Our peers are usually our main audience; therefore, it is important to make sure that our peers enjoy our writing and are able to understand the true purpose of the essay. In order to guarantee this, having your peers read your essay before you print a final copy is essential to writing a good essay. They will mark every confusing passion, point out every unanswered question, and give you some insight on how to improve your essay. Peer reviews are what truly perfect an essay. Do not be offended by the comments you receive from both your teacher and your peers; embrace their feedback and pay much attention to the comments and opinions of others.
Do not freak out about your upcoming College Writing class. In high school, I had difficulties writing a simple five-paragraph essay because I did not feel confident as a writer. My College Writing class has definitely improved my writing skills and boosted my confidence. The techniques that I have learned have reduced the amount of time I spend writing from days to hours, and the actual content of my essays is much more effective even though I do not spend as much time writing. Not only will this class teach you how to be a better writer, it will improve your time management, creativity, and organization skills. Don’t think of your College Writing class as a requirement for your major; instead, imagine it to be a workshop that will make you more successful in the future.
Best of luck,
There is a great uncertainty about climate change that lingers over a majority of individuals today. In Why bother? by Michael Pollan, we are forced to question our own beliefs about climate change. Although I believe that there are many benefits of going green, it seems as though climate change is too large of an issue for us to be able to make a difference. Our lifestyles must be drastically changed in order to make a slight difference. Then we must also factor in that somewhere around the world, we have an “evil twin” that is eager to emit every last ounce CO2 that we struggled so hard to save (Fleming 211). So the question is, is there even a point in putting effort in to hindering global warming?
I cannot deny the fact that I feel as though my efforts are just a waste of time. Global warming is much too large of an issue now and there is nothing we can do to completely stop the climate from changing. It seems as if for every step forward, I am forced to take two steps back due to my evil twin. No matter how hard I try to conserve energy, there are too many people who do not put any effort in and actually ruin all of my effort. So why should I even bother if my efforts are pointless?
Well, who is to say that my efforts are in fact pointless? Yes, there may be someone who destroys every effort I make, but if they were more educated on the subject than they might actually decide to change their lifestyle also. If those who actually do make an effort encourage others who do not, the idea of going green may spread like wildfire. Pollan agrees when he writes, “what I’m describing is a process of viral social change, and change of this kind, which is nonlinear, is never something anyone can plan or predict or count on” (Fleming 214). Pollan then suggests that this viral social change may even spread to that evil twin of ours and change his lifestyle also. On the other hand, it could just be a “passing fad” and be forgotten within a few years (214).
I agree with Pollan’s idea of a viral social change, but I do not believe that it would just be a passing fad. For example, my family grew sick of store-bought vegetables. We decided to plant a vegetable garden in our backyard a few years ago, and we have all agreed that we will never go back to buying vegetables at the grocery store. My neighbors took interest in our garden, and soon a good majority of my neighbors had a garden planted in their own backyards. Years have gone by, and every neighbor I have spoken to has told me that they could not imagine ever getting rid of their garden. Not only are the vegetables much more healthy and delicious, but we all enjoy spending time working in the garden.
As a student dorming at UMass Amherst, I constantly see the signs in the Berkshire Dining Common boasting about how their vegetables are locally grown. Yes, UMass buys locally grown food, but there is so much that such a large school can do to make a difference. Having recycling bins in each classroom and using only compact fluorescent light bulbs that save energy are just two simple things that I think should be mandatory in all schools and businesses. Every household should replace their light bulbs and unplug all electronics that are not in use. It is small acts such as these that truly make a difference; unfortunately, not enough people are investing their time in doing so.
Unless a majority of the world goes green, then I feel as though there is no hope for this planet. The odds of everyone deciding to make an effort are slim. Although Pollan does not blatantly say it, it may be insinuated that he feels that it is because of our evil twins that our planet is doomed. I am convinced that their passive attitude is what is preventing our planet from getting the help that it needs. They do not believe that it is their duty to help. They assume that the problem will be taken care of by others: the government presumably. What I have realized that our evil twins most likely have not, however, is that the government cannot change the world by itself. The government has the money and is capable of passing the laws that are necessary in order to help, but it is up to us to actually make a difference.
So what exactly is this passive attitude suggesting? We, as human beings, are entirely dependent on everyone and everything but ourselves. Pollan states, “Virtually all of our needs and desires we delegate to specialists of one kind or another–our meals to agribusiness, health to the doctor, education to the teacher, entertainment to the media, care for the environment to the environmentalist, political action to the politician” (213). I am the prime example of this statement; I expect food, healthcare, education, entertainment and so on to be provided for me. The last places you will find me are in the kitchen making my own medicine or in the woods hunting for food. Unfortunately, I have fallen victim to being dependent on anyone but myself.
What Pollan wants us to realize is that we can easily become independent again; one thing that he believes everyone can do is plant a garden. I have done this myself and believe this is the simplest way to become independent. Planting a garden will allow you to produce food which, in effect, will reduce the amount of CO2 that you emit by driving to the grocery store every few days. Working in the garden is also a wonderful workout, and this will reduce the number of times that you will get into your car and drive to the gym (215). Also, every minute spent in the garden is one minute less spent on wasting gas or energy. How exactly is planting a garden going to save the world though?
As I stated before, the idea of going green could spread like wildfire. After one person plants a garden, their neighbors might decide to plant a garden, just as my neighbors planted gardens after my family did. The friends of those neighbors may also think this is a good idea and will plant their own gardens. This idea may spread to different countries and, eventually, could possibly change the mindset of our evil twin who has been enjoying burning gallons of gas a day. If we are able to change the mindset of our evil twin, than we should be able to change the mindset of the majority of the world
Is it possible to save the Earth from its terrible fate? Although all the signs point to no, we can actually hinder the progress of global warming. Yes, with the mindset that most people have today, it seems almost impossible for us to make any difference in the rising global climate change. In order to make a difference, we must first change the mindset of the population. All of those “evil twins” that we have in the world must be educated and influenced into becoming economic friendly individuals. We cannot rely on the government or politicians to improve our lives. It is up to us as a society to change the world that we live in, and if planting a garden is the easiest way to do this, than why not do it?
A Crowded Start
This is how it always seems to be at the beach: crowded right up to the water and nearly impossible to find a spot. It’s cramped, and the minute we arrive I feel suffocated by the people surrounding me on every side. It’s hectic and slow moving all at once and it’s hard to maintain a sense of where I am. With an overwhelming feeling of being watched, I begin to search desperately for a room for my group. There are strangers everywhere I look, so it’s no surprise when I almost lose my friends.
Being this disoriented makes me think of the difficult times ahead of us. After all senior year is over, and along with that went our entire school careers and all of our teenage years. Next year at college I imagine it will be much like this crowded beach: Strangers everywhere I look, hectic and slow-moving, and hard to find my own place. It’s easy to picture myself lost among the strangers of my university, just as I had become lost among the strangers at the beach. Can I handle being just one person in a sea of strangers?
I know I shouldn’t be so negative when we have such little time left, so I relax and look around. Even with the crowd, the scene is incredibly beautiful and captivating, reminding me the initial stress is always worth it in the end. It’s nice, but being here with my friends is what makes it great.
A Captivating Scene
It’s easy to get lost in the sights and sounds of the beach: The smell of salt in the air, the sand between my toes. It’s so serene and beautiful, it’s almost as if there’s no one else around; it’s just me and my friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Essentially lost to the world, I can do nothing but simply lie completely still, absorbing every last second of this beautiful summer day.
In an instant, the silence is broken by a friend asking me to go to the water. Feeling the burning sun on my skin, I can think of nothing better than running into that impossibly cold water. I know it’ll be tough, almost unbearable, to get into that water that’s so much like daggers, but my friends at my side keep me going. With some tough and almost unbearable times ahead, it’s comforting to know I’ll never be alone. Whether it’s braving the freezing water or entering the “real world” unarmed, I know my friends will be there.
It’s safe to say this moment will always mean a lot to me. We made it to the water and are getting used to it. It’s unbelievable how refreshing it feels. If we can make it in this ice cold water together I feel like we can make it through more than I give us credit for. Right now I couldn’t be happier. The sun’s shining, the water’s nice, and we’re all smiling.
A Lasting Friendship
Now it’s time for this summer day to come to its relaxing end. It was perfect in every way, and all we could have asked for. It’s usually a little disappointing to leave the beach, but I’m not sad today. I know that this day was everything it could be. Everything has to come to an end eventually, even something that was so perfect at the time. These are just the times when the end only makes you appreciate it all that much more. The beach day may be ending but it was fun and perfect while it lasted. This time in our lives may be ending, but it really was fun and as good as it could have possibly been while it lasted.
The summer is pretty much over and we are all going to be going our separate ways, but I can’t help but smile. I know that we will all still be friends. We’re so important to each other that there’s no way anything could come between us, not even moving away to college. I no longer feel disoriented in any way. All I feel is a sense of indescribable closeness to the friends I just spent this day with. The sun may be setting on this summer day, but I know the sun will never set on our friendship. Our day is ending peacefully, and I know that in the end, everything will work itself out, and I will always have my memories.
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