The Current State of Affairs (Ft. Votes & Protests)

With the current states of affairs, it’s not difficult to feel as though all hope is lost. It can sometimes feel like to world is ending, with no one understanding the actions of their peers; with protests to battle against decisions already made and with fear being a common emotion among any old enough to understand what’s going on.

Some major decisions have been made both here and overseas that do not reflect either the view of the people or attitudes deemed acceptable today. Issues regarding equality (in all sense of the word) are rising, just when we getting confident that these old ideals were ridiculous and redundant. And although it seems as though all our problems can be pinned on one leader or another, we need to accept that as the public we are not innocent in any of this either.

It’s easy to point the finger at that orange-faced man on the TV or your government representative, because they’re the ones in charge right? But in these states of democracy we need to see that it is our actions, our views and our desperation that has put us here.

The news in America was obviously a great shock, but while others turned to anger and fighting I found myself feeling sad. I was sad for those who were so desperate to see change that they turned to archaic opinions and frightening predicaments; I was sad for the many who were hopeful but still didn’t do enough; I was sad about the lack of education and the lack of interest some people demonstrate in these important affairs. I am now sad about those who live in fear.

But at the end of the day, a vote was made. Although it may not be the vote you wanted it is the vote of the majority (including 53% of white women) and in a democratic society these changes must be made. This man should rule; that country should leave.

“democracy: (noun) a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”

synonyms: representative government, elective government

Although it may not be the vote you cast (and as long as you cast your vote then your job is done. If you didn’t then I’m afraid you can’t really speak out) there are ways that you can make a difference and still ensure that your voice is heard. There will be some useful links at the end of this to help you, but on a smaller scale just by speaking out and remaining compassionate you can make all the difference.

The views of your current leader mightn’t (and hopefully don’t) reflect your views and this may make you lose hope when people agree with what you see to be wrong. But don’t be disheartened. This is your chance to educate and expose some new ideas.

Although protesting is obviously the most public (and seemingly most common right now) way to express your opinion, this is something that should only be done if you have a specific case in mind.

It’s all well and good blocking streets to campaign against a leader or a vote that has been made (and in many cases this is successful and generally just a good thing to do to show your support) but it would all work a little better if we were more specific about what we don’t like. In the case of Trump, there is nothing you can do to get him out of the leader seat. So instead of putting all your energy and time into campaigning for the impossible, aim to fight against his policies or the things he’s said that aren’t okay.

trump-1

Instead of being disrespectful, because even if you disagree there is still a large majority of people who thought the opposite (and even though they may be wrong they are still people and should get your respect), aim to educate. Use your campaigns, your protests and your posts to explain exactly what has happened and why it’s wrong. Be clear and honest as for some people the idea that these beliefs are wrong is just not possible. Talk about their children, use their futures as an example; make it understandable and be open to answer questions. But also be prepared for backlash and don’t push back. Instead remain calm and kind- you don’t need to stoop to that level to win an argument. Besides winning shouldn’t be your aim here, educating and exposing what is right so that people can understand the consequences of their actions should be your goal.

If you are going to protest, by all means go for it. But it’s best to be specific (stick to an issue like racism, sexism or immigration) and for God’s sake do your research. Again people are going to ask questions so use this time to educate and open more people up to new ideas. This is something you can only do if you’ve researched. Remain passionate, otherwise what’s the point in campaigning if you don’t care, and compassionate. Some people will still think they’ve done the right thing or some mightn’t even understand. They are still people. If you’re campaigning against the ill-treatment of others whether for their colour, gender or ethnicity then make sure you represent the right way to treat people regardless. Even if they disagree with you, or call out rude things.

Now is the best time for us to rally round, help each other out and generally just stay supportive. There is already too much fear and anger in the world without us adding to it. If things are happening that you don’t agree with, speak out. But please bear in mind the advice given. If you see people fighting for change, help them. But above all remain kind and respectful to your peers and the people around you, because that’s the one thing we don’t have enough of right now.


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Speak soon,

Rachael.

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Mind Your Damn Business: A Discussion On Privacy by a Nosy Journalism Student

I haven’t even started this post yet but I already know it’s going to have no structure and no clear point. Apologies. But this is a topic I really want to talk about and something that I’ve been thinking about recently for various different reasons.

I am currently in my last year of a Journalism degree, which means for the past two years I have been taught how to be more curious, how to be ask the right questions and how to find things out. Which is all well and good and these are certainly skills I will need should I go into this field.

On a personal level I have loved learning these things. I’m naturally a nosy person and I ask a million and one questions a day (something I’m sure my friends and family hate). Basically,  I feel like I didn’t grow out of that stage every toddler goes through where they want to know the answer to everything, right now. I’m 20, guys.

Anyway, I’m hoping you get the picture. I’m a nosy, curious person who loves nothing more than finding out information about other people.

Despite this, I do find myself thinking or saying the phrase “it’s none of your business” a lot of the time recently. Even though I’m studying journalism and I am such a nosy sod (seriously. I’m embarrassed for myself a lot of the time) I can’t help but think that it’s all kind of wrong.

In an age of social media, we’re encouraged to share everything with our followers and our friends. And some people share everything. I mean, everything. Which is totally cool, you do you. But because we’ve become so used to having access to people’s personal lives, whether they be celebrities or old school friends, we begin to expect it. So when someone chose to keep something private, we feel enraged.

How dare they not share that with us?

We begin to feel like we’re owed this information. And that’s kind of messed up.

But not only do we want access to this information, but because we’ve gotten so used to seeing it we feel like we can comment on how other people live their lives.

We all do it and I for one am guilty of this on almost a daily basis- which is really sad when you think about it.  We all have our own ideas of what is the right or wrong way to do something, from the way we study, the way we raise children, the way we work: the list is endless. And when we see someone do something differently to how we would like it to be done we freak out.

Celebrity magazines thrive of this stuff, man. How many articles have you read insulting the way a famous person does this or that? Tonnes, I’ll bet.

It’s such a normal and common thing that I think we’ve forgotten how wrong it is. Like what business is it of ours how someone chooses to live their own life? As long as they’re not hurting anyone or breaking the law or something like that, then what does it matter?

Of course, if you see something actually wrong (ie. legally) then don’t be afraid to report that shit and put a spotlight on it. But in terms of the everyday stuff, why do we care?

I don’t have a solution to this. I don’t even have any suggestions to offer on how to get better at minding your own business. I just wanted to express some opinions on this topic and hopefully get some kind of discussion going, because it’s an interesting topic.

If you are interested in this kind of stuff, I’d recommend you watch this video by the wonderful Sarah Rae Vargas which inspired this whole train of thought.

How public are you on social media? Are you a nosy person? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Or you can Tweet me and start a conversation there.

Thanks for sticking with me, if you did, through this long post. If you like my blog you can follow it on bloglovin too.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

Calling All Freshers: Second Year Experience

Okay, so the title of this ‘series’ doesn’t really go with this topic as when you’re in Freshers (that’s the first year of university) you couldn’t care less about what’s coming next. Still nonetheless I know hearing about other people’s experiences helped me get prepared and generally just calm my nerves about what was to come and I’m hoping it will do the same for you.

IT GETS HARDER

This is obvious but second year is pretty difficult compared to the first. For many courses this is the year when your grades really count and contribute to something. First year, at many universities, counts for 0% (or a similar small amount) of your final grade so there’s no pressure to do anything other than pass. However your grades in second year do count so there is that pressure to do well, to ensure that your happy with the final result.

As well as this, the work becomes more difficult and you will probably find that you have more deadlines- normally all at once!- than last year as well. For me, I also had exams this year which was a totally new experience as my first year was assignments only. It can feel overwhelming at times but remember that everyone is in the same boat and as long as you organise your time (tips will come soon) you will get everything done, I promise!

IT IS EASIER

So the work isn’t easier but everything else is. Because you’ve spent your first year learning all about your new campus, the basics of your course, your flatmates and accommodation- basically everything outside of the work- you go into this year feeling a lot more comfortable and confident about these areas. Which is a wonderful thing and means you can really knuckle down with your work and the more ‘important’* bits as you’ve got to grips with the rest.

*I personally think that all areas of university, the academic side and the rest, are equally important and it really helps shape who you are and all that. But you know what I mean. 

IT’S MORE FUN

As explained above, all your hard work in first year getting used to your surroundings really pays off in second year. Now you’re (hopefully) used to your new city and have a nice group of friends you can just go out and enjoy yourself without worrying about where to go or what to do. By know you’ll have figured out what you like to do best with whoever suits the event the most and that means you can just go for it! You know what clubs hold the best events, where the best shops are and who offers the nicest food and you can just go for it without issue. (As you can tell those are my favourite things to do but everyone is different and I’m sure you’ll find things you love wherever you are).

However, it can be very easy to get stuck into a routine and therefore miss out on all the other fun things happening outside your comfort zones. I know that is something me and my friends struggled with this year. Even though you may feel as though you have learned all there is to know about your new surroundings, take some time to look further because I can guarantee you’ll find something even better you may have just missed last year.

Star

I wish you all the best of luck as you head into whatever year you’re going into. I am so proud of you for getting this far and I hope you have the best time!

If you have any tips for our second years or any tales of your own experience please get in touch and let me know!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Seeing Things Differently (Alternatively Titled: Learning from Other People)

I recently just attended my first press preview (more on that shortly) for an new art exhibition and while it was a great experience to learn more about journalism and my intended future career, it also taught me a lot elsewhere.

Now I have to admit that I’m not really an ‘artsy’ person. Although, like anyone, I can appreciate a pretty picture and marvel at the skill it shows, I don’t really get it.  I’ve been to art galleries and various exhibitions before and nothing’s really struck me in a particular way.

So when I was invited to this press preview for a new Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at my local gallery I was excited, sure, but I wasn’t really anticipating much.

And I was right. Some of the pieces I saw were pretty and I liked the look of them or the stories behind them but overall I wasn’t too bothered.

Then I spoke to the man who organised and devised the exhibition, a lovely talkative man called Martin, who was so excited about the work around him that I felt my perspective shifting.

He took me over to one of the drawings under the heading A Deluge. Now, this was something I had earlier dismissed as a mess of scribbles. I, in my uninterested and already prejudiced mind, couldn’t see anything wonderful or worthy in this image.

Deluge

Leonardo da Vinci, A deluge, c.1517-18 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

But Martin began explaining what he saw and it couldn’t be more different from my idle opinion.

He explained that this image was a part of a sequence of images Leonardo Da Vinci produced, all of which showed a “mighty tempest overwhelming the earth”

“This is about half the way through the sequence as the mountains are collapsing into the valley below. You see huge floods washing across the landscape, trees being blasted, storm clouds swirling around in the upper part of the drawing.

It’s smaller than a sheet of A4 paper but Leonardo captures this most amazing panoramic vision and there’s nothing like it from the rest of the renaissance.

It’s an extraordinary drawing and if it didn’t exist, you wouldn’t be able to imagine that it had been done.”

This whole exchange just goes to show how different we all are and the various ways in which we all interpret the world around us.

Although this can often cause conflict and issues, being different and seeing things in different ways is such a wonderful thing and I felt very inspired and humbled by the whole experience.

It made me think that taking time out to truly listen to someone else, someone with an opposite opinion to our own regardless of what that may be (as long as it is respectful, obviously) is such a healthy activity and something I should do more.

Listening and looking out for the ways in which we are all so different and so wonderfully unique will surely take us that one step closer to seeing that we are all important.

What do you think about the image? I’d love to hear your interpretation.

Speak soon,

Rachael.