Friday, October 30, 2009

Comfy Little Worlds

I have a routine.

Everyday I wake up, I go lectures – most of the time – and in between all the chaos I go to my meals. Here’s the problem, each day I do exactly the same thing with exactly the same people standing across from me… but I don’t know them, I don’t know their lives, I don’t know what they think about before they go to sleep every night, I don’t know that they have children who’ll never even dream of seeing the inside of a lecture room. I just don’t know.

The truth is, it’s a classic case of self absorption, we all do. We never take the time to stop, to step out of our little worlds and to recognise them. So why? Why do I do it? I’m not entirely sure…

Okay well that’s a lie.

I do it because it easier to ignore my neighbours than it is to realise that my comfy little world really isn’t the centre of the universe, who’d have thought! It’s no surprise that, like a lot of students, if I don’t have to know them? I won’t.

That’s why I chose to be different and to try something that to a lot of people really isn’t that amazing. I chose to open my eyes – metaphorically speaking.

I was given the opportunity to challenge myself and to do something I hadn’t done before. Although skydiving or a Santa Monica cruise was appealing, I decided to acknowledge certain people who are really overlooked by our community, often just – accessories to Default, Hindu Halal or Vegetarian.

I got to know the kitchen staff… outside the bondage of bags of McCain’s and my subsequent hours.

You see Georgina used to scare me. Every time she rather passionately slapped smash onto dubiously hygienic plates, yes, I was scared– but then I got to know her. The smile I received when I took the time to ask about her day was indescribable. The following weeks I realised that just a few commonplaces really did mean the world to someone, brightening their day just that little bit more.

Everyone wants to be seen, to be recognised and to feel like there is a reason that they’re standing in front of you doing a job that they probably can’t stand or isn’t worth the menial pay they’re getting. Whether it’s for themselves or their families or to pay medical bills, it is up to you to make it worth it because essentially without them, eight o’clock munchies would really be a whole lot worse.

So try it. Make it worth it for someone, a kitchen lady or someone in the streets; let them know that they’re not alone in their little world and that they’re appreciated. It’s up to you; I know for myself I’ve opened my eyes.

Informing the uninformed!

Journopad offers not only a compelling insight in the enigmatic lifestyle of Journalism students, but carry with it an authority that compels readership. Its appropriate title and engaging blog posts overcome the typical superfluous opinion of the amateur blogger, tackling contemporary issues with a rather glamorous spin. Granted Journopad is merely a student blog, but it is surprisingly informed, exposing its audience to a diverse collage of issues. I found within this unique and rather unconventional blog a rich display of enthralling feminist posts to political debates concerning policies acutely relevant to our public.

Browsing through this blog, there is an evident and embedded sense of individuality as the writer’s characters are lucidly articulated within each contribution. Jetsetter in particular portrays himself as somewhat flamboyant with his overtly sensational posts which, although somewhat ostentatious, tie his opinions together brilliantly. Despite the sense of nonchalance, Journopad is able to remain pleasantly informal without sounding too colloquial and with its fabulous take on the media, adds an exclusive and unparalleled angle to journalism - a welcomed change.

The presentation of this blog is not only impeccably charming and in context with its authors, but remains reputably journalistic without appearing overtly cliché. The photography, although not enthralling or overwhelmingly artistic, lighten the already jovial mood of the blog as it captures the essence of student life. Journopad makes not only for an interesting read but challenges readers with a taste for the unknown, to look beyond the boarders of the average thinker. Essentially it informs the uninformed on what it is to be a part of the turbulent world of media.

Im not crazy i just do journalism

Worn a dress? , yes. Walked backwards for a long time? , yes. Taken a vow of silence?, yes. What can I do that I have never done before. That question I have been pondering for a good week, until two days ago when my answer came quite accidentally. I was walking to a lecture and I was not even 5metres outside my res when someone told me my shirt was inside out, feeling like a fool I turned it around. Worn my clothes inside out? , not yet. So I set off to lunch, jeans, t-shirt, hoody inside out .If I could id also have my shoes inside out.

Ever been on a train and you see that sad looking hobo man walking up and down the train mumbling and singing to himself. The look you give him can be described as a “wow you’re crazy” look. Well I am now all too familiar with that look. Most people just looked at me like I was that crazy guy on the train. Others actually asked me why on earth I was wearing all my clothes inside out at lunch. A very simple “it’s for a journ assignment” got more than a sufficient response from people. Some commented on how if that’s what we do for journ how can it be a university degree and others were generally just entertained. The worst part about the whole experience wasn’t the people who came up to me and spoke to me (to criticize or not) but the people who didn’t. The ones who would sit across the dining hall and stare and whisper to themselves. They were giving me that “wow you’re look”.
I learned two things from this experiment, firstly I shall never wear my clothes inside out again (but am fully prepared to do other stupid things) and secondly I will never give the crazy man on the train that look again. I know how he feels, so next time u see someone you think is crazy, think twice they may be journalism student, or a psychopath.

A Rave Review

I was quite upset as I arrived back to Grahamstown 5 weeks into the final term of the year, predominantly as I missed the major launches of the student blogs. In order to gage with the blog format I have been following mine and one other blog quite closely – Not only is this blog written by my friends, but by good stylistic writers. Rant-a-view includes articles that depict the student lifestyle perfectly, and there is even a virtual goldfish pond to keep your cursor happy. As the name of the blog suggests, there are various articles about the nuisances of varsity; such as traitorous walks up down the hill to lectures which make that five day break between weekends unbearable. I particularly enjoy the personal articles such as one of the writers’ describing how she deals with racial slurs from her friends in and out of lectures. On another hand, there are articles which celebrate this unique university experience that we live in – the parties in Grahamstown. There are reviews on parties from over the weekend as well as thoughts on future parties that will draw us away from exams. Although the writers all dwell on their own experiences, the casual yet well-written style ties all the articles into an interesting student blog. I enjoy this blog as it has a casual, quirky and playful tone that is authentically written by opinionated journalists.

But the best part is; the goldfish never die.

I dont think you know what i wrote last semester

Four people in one tutorial group get randomly put together and are told to make a blog. For any student the idea of a group project is one that brings sadness to the heart. The fighting , the lack of communication, the mismanagement that occurs. All these things generally make group projects the bane of university (after exams of course) , but every now and then it works. The group clicks and the project is good. is that group. The relaxed, informal , yet informative style is carried through by all the writers, they all seem to have the same idea with what they are doing. They are also very different people and so the posts cover a vast range of interests from anti-racism protests to the ANC’s overspending. However despite how good the writing may be the blog lacks that “excitement” readers look for; the white on black writing is difficult to read after a while and with a few of the posts being very long one tends to stop reading some way toward the end. The Name on the other hand, well “iknowwahtyouwrotelastsemester” is interesting, a nice play on the movie series “ I know what you did last summer” but that’s all its got, a decent pun. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed reading the blog, but content is all it has. Give it more life and I would want to visit it every day.

Just add vodka

Summer camp was a place to meet new friends and make innocent paper plates over the summer holidays. I had spent the build up to my summer holidays in 1998 preparing my mud-friendly wardrobe and stylish Power Rangers lunch box for my first camping experience away from home. This seemingly jovial camp trip was cut short as I performed a summersault down the inflatable wet water slide. Needless to say I spent the next two weeks at home with a white block of sponge around my neck.
So last Saturday when our friend was throwing his 21st “Big Kids Party” we all rushed into our coordinating outfits with matching pigtails and pacifiers. On entry we saw a giant jumping castle and 100 litres of punch; I was more interested in how we would divide 100 litres into 150 guests rather than the menacing bright yellow jumping castle staring me in the eye. For the duration of the afternoon I played drinking games on the benches, blew bubbles, played pass-the-explicit-parcel; anything to keep my attention away from the generating castle in the centre of the lawn. As the music dimmed, we were informed that the party was drawing to a close and all the blurry-eyed big kids ran to the stairs of the castle. With my punch in hand, I found myself being dragged by my friends and started to mount the moving stairs. My apprehension and childhood-flashbacks were lost amongst the bright balloons and swarms of people waiting to take their last jump behind me. So I jumped. No summersault, no pencil jump or head dive; just a basic slip into the muddy water at the end. As I made my abrupt fall into the end of the slide, I felt like I had finally conquered the same thing that had cut my summer camp two weeks short. I clambered off the sides as I was reunited with my empty glass. Once again, my happiness was short-lived as I heard the roar of an inebriated jock slam into the walls of the slide and send me tumbling onto the tree stump with surrounding concrete blocks.
So it’s true, alcohol can loosen your inhibitions and make you scream that little bit louder on a slide. Whether I decide to be drunk or not, it’s safe to say I’m dressing as Bubble Boy on any future water slide.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't wanna be an American idiot

I don’t know what it was about teenage American series that kept me addicted throughout high school. I used to spend my late afternoons in front of my television glancing at my homework while a glorified, uninteresting bimbo ranted about her life in the Hollywood Hills, and somehow found it entertaining. Fortunately, during second term sitting in res that changed as a friend and I watched an episode of Skins, and since then they have not been deleted off our laptops.
Skins follows the lives of a group of modern, blunt and believable teenagers throughout their last years of high school in Bristol, England. I first read about this fictional series in Dazed and Confused magazine, and again on the internet when I saw that one of my favourite bands’ music was featured throughout the series. Each episode is dedicated to a specific character, and not only are the story lines compelling and relevant to modern, down-to-earth teenagers; but the clever cinematography and alternative soundtrack make each hour long episode unique and provoking. There are no visits to Starbucks or mindless sagas about prom king; but rather authentic scenes from college life such as homosexuality, personality disorders, religion, underage sex, dysfunctional families and death.

What makes this show so convincing is that it is written by teenagers, and was originally created by a father and son duo in Bristol – a working to middle class area – so each character’s stories are well-thought-out and shed a genuine perspective on young personas. I would recommend any student to find time to watch it and (without sounding like television has a large influence on my life), it has reminded me that there is a lot more to being a functional young adult than fake tan and BMWs.