A New Beginning

It’s as if this scene of my life came out of a Michael Bay movie. A Transformers movie to be exact, allow me to explain. In the Transformer movie if you are not familiar, there are cars who transform into some sort of high tech warrior. I’d like to consider myself an unfinished version of a human Transformer that went from being in the shadows of consciousness, lacking awareness and self determination when it came down to technology. You see there was no mindfulness, there was no need. Social media was a thing to do when you plain and simple did not have anything to do. Just scroll and like what you like, scroll pass what you don’t. Then it happened, my first semester attending Channel Islands University as a transfer. With this came a class, a particular one. A class that taught me the value of technology, and made me rewire my perception of the media, and the methods I used to analyze and better yet dissect the information around me. A class I believe all students should take, Transfer Year Seminar.

 

We began the class choosing a topic we believed to be an important social issue in our lives with the hope of either building or contributing to some sort of bridge to suggest a possible solution, it’s what students do. My choice was the Syrian Refugee Crisis which I regret not one bit. This issue has shown me how little I am doing, with such easy challenges in my life. Nothing compared to being homeless, without doing anything at all. So here we stand with our judgments and stereotypes and continue to fail by simply staying on the outskirts of the situation, miraculously hoping for a solution to fall from the sky. Ladies and gentlemen, if there is one thing I have learned is that we must contribute when we want change, not just simply sit back and hope.

 

This is where technology comes in. Just like a carbon footprint, we now have a digital footprint. It is safe to say that majority of the world is catching up to this technology movement and are relying on it more and more in our everyday lives. We must no longer rely on the media to speak for the masses as it was before. We must no longer wait a few weeks or months to hear about a certain issue due to its place of value in the medias eyes. Participatory culture has become a movement in our world through technology. We can now connect with someone across the world about our favorite popcorn, and if we analyze it a little deeper than we can now connect with someone across the world about revolting our government.

 

The most useful knowledge I have learned from this class has surprised me. As a student, I walk into a new class in the beginning of each semester and honestly think I’m going to walk out knowing words, concepts, and most importantly take a tool from there that I did not have before. It is quite contrary in this case. Transfer Year Seminar has made awareness stand out for me the most. It is a quality we all have, a quality of being aware. Never had a given social media, let alone the capstones we can create through participating. It is such a fascinating thing that the depth of the study we conducted about a particular issue at the end of the day transformed me to be a deeper thinker of everything I do with technology and media. All jokes aside when people ask me what I’d like to do with my major I respond; “I want to change the world.” People laugh, almost every time. But now, so do I, at the fact that you honestly believe I can’t do so now with this irreplaceable tool we have like social media.

Similarities

Let me start by saying that this assignment has left me mind blown. The content is enough to leave you pondering in what it is we are really doing, if we really are progressing. A new way has been called on by experts who say we must halt our curriculum, and transform it into a let’s say a more effective way of going about our lives.

There is no doubt that technology has immensely progressed in this past decade and quite honestly has shaped the way we think, the things we do and most importantly who we all are becoming. These two pieces of insight provided by our Transfer Year class have two very distinct similarities that have resounded as the most impacting.

The first similarity is particularly interesting is that us, as humans should not only live our lives with technological advancements being just a tool we can use to know what’s already known, but to use it and understand the changes it is making in our everyday lives and how we can use it to our advantage to permanently perfect an advantage to live in a better world.

The second similarity is how both pieces advocate the realization of how powerful technology is. The digital world and how easy it is now a days to use it as your form of rebellion you could say. Your new way of thinking that can possibly be embraced by 2 billion active participators.

The first example of two is the Paris attack. Facebook provided a way to keep in contact on Paris about the situation. This was an accomplishment for many since this would have never been possible even 10 years ago. This here is an example of Digital Progress
and how we can guide it to help us live easier.

The second example would be GPS.
Never have we become so intricately familiar with our location than we are now. This tool allows us to travel in the right direction without actually knowing where we are going. It is an accomplishment in the digital world that has allowed us to not only travel, but travel with ease. It is a tool of trust that revolutionizes and allows us to become faster at what we want to accomplish with our life. #UNIV349DC

As the challenge remains the same, I’ve came to a realization. For weeks now I have been attempting to come up with a way for me to be good, even great at being a good participator in my social issue. This Syrian refugee crisis has been one of the worst in history, and here we are living peacefully. For me to come to this realization I had to sit and think of what my true passion is. I like to consider myself an artist and love photography.
Normally I use my Instagram to display photos I’ve took and places I’ve gone. I’ve never used it to be active on a particular social issue. This week, I decided to do so.
I did this for the reason that I looked for something that has been a part of me for so long, and mixing it with something that is currently happening in the world.
I’ve always wanted to travel and capture many scenes.
It’s so interesting to me how this Transfer Year class assignment has engaged me and motivated me to even consider traveling to make this issue known much more tha it currently is. We live, in peace. We have a place we can call home. Unfortunately it is not the same for these refugees stacked in camps with low resources.
If it were our families we would do anything in our power for that injustice to end. We may not to do the same in this case, but I strongly encourage all to try. Anything helps, from simply #UNiV349DCspreading the word on this issue.

A Modern View

One of my biggest take aways from this week was my voicing to political leaders. Regardless if they respond or not, it feels so different as to simply saying it to someone else in person. Hashtags are a brilliant idea that have revolutionized organization amongst the masses as clearly stated in this weeks TED talk. Lurking is not just lurking any longer. With the press of a button you can now directly interact and participate in any movement you feel strongly about.
This tool that humans have manufactured that has progressively and magnificently improved can be the way out of social injustice and outdated methods that don’t correspond with the modern view.
More and more I’m beginning to feel not just a desire to participate but to actually establish an important role that can change the world.
We all feel as if we are destined for something great. At least that’s how I feel. Without this desire we would wake up without any motivation, drive, or optimism.
With the use of Twitter, and even just the web in general this desire is becoming a reality.
Realizing this power that is a passcode away should be and one day hopefully will be the end to a barrier that has kept voices repressed and ideas rejected.
With my contribution towards this issue comes a great responsibility to make this issue understood by everyone in my reach.
The tools are here, ready for me to use. So I will, everyday I get the chance to and I know I can make a change.

Twitter Madness

I didn’t know what retweeting meant before this week. Maybe I should start by saying I didn’t even have a Twitter. It’s been encouraged by my University Transfer course. Not so sure why I never bothered making one since now that I have one it is obvious how powerful of a tool this media site can be.
I engaged with Twitter for the reason that mostly everywhere you look, or everyone you engage with most likely has a Twitter that represents their reality. Such an interesting thing that quite frankly I’d love to build on.
Since Twitter is used world wide it may be a perfect way for me to push the message of help in regards to the Syrian refugee crisis.
The first thing I did was look up the hashtag #RefugeeCrisis and very quickly realized it was too broad. I came across pages that were outdated and that were also not referring to the current crisis. Therefore I narrowed it down to just #Refugees. Hit the jackpot on that one with how many rich posts there were.
I retweeted one I found interesting and that I believed others would find appealing and motivating.
There was much to learn from this experience. Yet this was just the spark of my Twitter footprint. Now, I am mindful towards many things. Not only the content of my work, but I am considerate of the complexity that this issue brings. Now, it is me creating the content others might come across. This new addition to my project changes everything I had been doing before.

Lurking to The Next Level

For two weeks now I have been lurking social media to be twined in on a current refugee crisis. This issue was one I chose for our transfer class yet it was an issue for me prior to taking this course. There is an endless amount of reasons why we need to be in touch with this social uprising. Lurking and being conscious of an end goal is much more complex than simply lurking just to lurk. Now, I take on any new article or post that contributes to my issue and analyze it in depth. The contributions to my knowledge on these issues has been reinforced by not only learning the facts, but the opinions of millions of others on this same issue. One of the most interesting things to me is that this is not a two sided issue. All opinions are different based upon your upbringing and your beliefs, which makes this issue so versatile.
“Fewer than 2,000 Syrians have come to the U.S., though the war has displaced more than 12 million since it began in 2011. The refugees in America are scattered widely across more than 20 different states.”

This is an excerpt from an article published on NPR covering the experience of Omar Al-Awad and his newfound life here in America. This makes me feel proud. For the very reason that my own country is able to help such a humble family like Omar’s.
It inspires me to help another human regardless of where they are from.
The development of this project has made me more conscious, living in the moment you could say.

Challenge 4

My recent interest in Syrian and Iranian refugees has been collectively uprising due to the participatory culture that has been instilled in me by this Transfer Seminar class. It’s such an interesting and controversial topic that you can only feel as if you need to do something about this matter.
Social media can be an extremely useful connection to these issues since these sites are used by people around the world, some who might have better understanding of the social issue.
Two of my favorite social media sites are Instagram and YouTube. Instagram connects interesting points of different Instagramers along with powerful pictures. You can like the post, repost or even comment what you feel in regards to the issue.
YouTube on the other hand can be used to make videos without any sort of time boundary to better explain your point, or simply share with people facts about your social issue.
Both of these places gives you a worldwide audience if you use the sites well. In both of these sites you can filter your thoughts and focus on a more intricate point.
I tend to lurk on this topic a lot due to genuine interest. At least once a day. I always place myself in their shoes and wonder how horrific it must be to be in that predicament. Torn and pushed away from a seemingly distant and terrifying place you once called home.
The contributions on Instagram surpass the ones by users on YouTube.
You can filter the subject by using a hashtag that can be common in relation to the issue.
What surprises me are the association of these refugees to past refugees. Times in history where this situation has happened. It’s funny, but history truly does repeat itself. However, when living in the present and this issue is a reality, it is harder to accept and treat it as an important issue like it should be.

Refugee Crisis

The way I’ve been trying to conduct my research is around credible websites that can provide myself and the ones around me good viewpoints and stats. Over the past month or so, each day on my way to work I learn about the newest information that is going on in Europe. I believe staying informed rather than learning about it from someone else is a great way of knowing what to do to help the situation.
The search engines I like to use are NPR. This website is one that I recommend to all since it has great articles of this particular topic along with many current events throughout the world. Seems unbiased when it comes to the information and really seeks to get the perspectives of these refugees for example.

Another great resource was Duck Duck Go. This is an awesome search engine that provides a lot of insightful and controversial articles. Learning about the refugee camps through here made my understanding of the crisis much easier. I had never used this search engine until this particular search and quite frankly I wish I would have knew about it sooner. My experience with Duck Duck go was a positive one that will be remembered the next time I need to research a certain topic or event.

This world event is something I wish we were all equally informed of since it will eventually reach your home if the number of migrants and refugees continue to rise like it has.

Analyzing Reality

 

What thrives me to be better is the idea of knowing there are existing issues that yet need to be solved. Issues that affect our lives in the greatest manner that in fact can be changed for the better as long as the whole world is on the same page. Refugees in Syria and neighboring countries such as Afghanistan are escaping and are experiencing a fall of current rule. Citizens are being forced to flee from the violence from a place they once called home. Their culture is being taken away from them similar to how mine is taken away from my family. Mexico has been the source of narcotics in recent decades for both their home land and neighbors, us. Social issues root down to the war on drugs and tie in to keeping our economy down and class status stagnant. Last but not least, racism is not a poison that can’t be ignored. It lives and presents itself in the minds of millions still today and continually acts out in form of rage and injustice.

Germany and the seemingly inclined Turkey are receiving thousands of refugees each day. The scarcity of good care in the camps they are centralized in is crying for extended resources. They never would have imagined this amount of immigrants seeking asylum in their countries. Nonetheless, the world is crying for our help more and more each day. If we choose to ignore the climate in our reality, we might not see the storm coming. It is our job as students of the collegiate world as well as of life to be conscious of humanities struggles and act in a helping manner. This statement is to bring life to this situation happening around the world from us. No matter the distance, time is not in our favor thus we need to act now.

Narcotics are deadly. Narcotics help you they say. Narcotics are in the lives of all ages now a days. However, I never would have thought narcotics would reach a level where it would take a piece of me. Culture is subjective and unique to each and every perspective. Mexico has been terrorized by Government corruption as they continue to turn their heads purposefully towards groups of terrorists for the sole purpose of profit. I shouldn’t be scared to visit my family because of something so harmful to society. Drugs in America have been an extremely important issue as of recent years since we continue to see the damage they create. Both individually and in the masses. Yet another issue that deserves attention along with a solution.

We use equality as a face of our country and remain ignoring it in our everyday lives. We shouldn’t get used to or feel comfortable with the idea that at any time a traffic stop can turn into a shooting as was the case of police officer Michael Slager in South Carolina. As a person considered to be a minority, these issues are ones of great importance. Life is too short to accept these atrocities and we need to act now by using our freedom of speech to state the importance of such events that quite frankly need to be attacked and ended.

I Found Myself

 

This assignment required me to Google my own name and find the strangest or weirdest thing that came up. The first thing that came up was  Yelp review of a Jorge Rodriguez Jr. aka me. In this case, instead of me being a student and construction worker, he was a well known personal trainer. This particular case wasn’t as weird because he was a personal trainer, but because I had been employed by a gym for almost three years up until a few months ago. Initially when I saw the review and Facebook page crediting this man’s personal training I immediately thought to myself, “Wow why didn’t I ever do this!” There were so many great reviews about this guy similar to the ones I received at the gym yet never made the time to create such an outgoing source like a Facebook page dedicated solely to my art. Personal training should be considered an art and it is by most since lifting weights and eating right isn’t something that everybody does, nor is it easy to do. You have to be professor, and as an athlete the best way to approach working out is as a student. Just like how you would approach school. I chose the personal training Jorge Rodriguez Jr. because he touched base on a huge part of me and opened my eyes to what possibilities there is for someone like me who is a full advocate of promoting higher self esteem through physical accomplishment.personal trainer