You enter a new adventure

Mission Started! Read one DPchallenge blog. Reward: +125 EXP

You enter into this blog and wonder like always if this will be ‘that’ blog.

You know, the blog you always dream of where the writer is exactly what you’re looking for. An intelligent individual that mirrors your beliefs in every way woohoo!

You really don’t know what to expect from this blog, but you decide to press on further. So who is this man?

You read the title “yummygradedgoodness” and wonder if it’s part of some inside joke. Maybe this guy is a humour blogger, but really it sounds more school-related. Continuing on you read the ‘adventure into blah blah blah college’ and figure this guy is some form of college student. ‘Mystery solved’ you think to yourself

His theme is alright, nothing to get in a fuss about, he most likely chose it for its simplicity and it does fill up the whole page. Speaking of pages you decide to open up a tab with his ‘about’ page. The guy isn’t bad-looking, and honestly you really can’t form that much from just the picture. He has an enthusiastic want for blogging what’s in his head. You come to the conclusion that he’s not a psychopath or some intense blogging nut. Just some guy trying to blog.

Now comes the meat of the material: his actual posts. You see the title Red vs. Blue: A Real Life Political Cartoon. Well at least he’s interested in politics some, not bad for a college kid. Sending an SOS, well it looks like he’s actively involved in the current crisis of this generation. You see a lot of life stuff on there so he must have a lot of thoughts on philosophical subjects.

So not really a dream blogger, but it wasn’t all a waste of time.

All in all there’s not much, but you figure this college kid might pull out a good post or two so you leave the blog decide whether to follow him and leave with a tip of your hat.

It’s the small quaint adventures that make life a little more interesting.

You venture off towards more blogs awaiting the next adventure.

Mission Complete! Read one DPchallenge blog!

+125 EXP!

LVL UP! +5 blog skill +2 opinion +3 reading skill!

 

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Red vs. Blue: The Real Life Political Cartoon

This November I did something important to me; I voted. What’s more, I voted for the first time. The morning was cold and the dew on the ground was frozen on the field I walked across towards the polling center for my university. To add on to the excitement it was also my birthday, so naturally one can tell it was pretty momentous. It’s a memory I will hold for a while.

This moment will stand in my mind as the first step into politics, and the daily self-verification that my vote or my say does matter (it doesn’t). Reflecting on the world and the politics of today, a good amount of people take the simple route and jump aboard the bandwagon pulled by an elephant or a donkey. They won’t question why these animals are the best choice to lead, but when it comes to me, I’d rather walk and hope that maybe a wagon pulled by a horse will pass by.

Today, politics have become a joke fueled by media and supported by the majority of our nation that do the bare minimum to get a fuzzy idea of what’s actually going on. This frightens me. “We have not seen the intensity of political conflict and the radical separation between the two major political parties that characterizes our age since the late nineteenth century,” Richard Pildes explains in his article, “Why the Center Does Not Hold: The Causes of Hyperpolarized Democracy in America.” He brings to light a sad truth about today’s politics; not only is the divide between left and right miles apart, it’s stubbornly so.

The idea of split ticket voting was to allow voters to vote for anyone, not just people in their party, this was when the idea of a divided congress was more of a way to balance the government. The hope was that the pros and cons of both parties would shape bills into a more centralized manner that would suit everyone’s ideals. This was just not the case.

Going back to Pildes, he comments on recent voting trends, “split-ticket voting has declined sharply: more voters express consistent, partisan political preferences by voting for candidates from the same party across all races, whether for the House, the Senate, or the Presidency,” the problem this entails is that voters are moving away from educated decisions in politics. The message they are sending can be translated to “I believe my party is right for this nation and not the other” and this is reflected by the exact people that are voted in this way.

The way I see split ticket voting is that one votes for whom will best do the job, regardless of the party affiliation. I myself did not vote straight ticket nor do I ever plan too. To put it in relatable terms consider squares and rectangles: all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Straight ticket voting is favoring only rectangles in the hope that most of them will be square, whereas split ticket voting is favoring the rectangles that are more likely to be a square thus producing a better result

It is truly sad to see the national reaction of the past election. The fact that entire states, not just people, are threatening succession ultimately showcases how severe the polarization of our government and people have become. This raises the question of why and who is to blame.

When considering those at fault in something involving a whole nation one can never blame one source for the problem. One factor to consider is the media and how people respond to what they learn from; “People who are poorly informed about politics but watch a good deal of TV cast their ballots for governor and senator disproportionately on the way candidates look,” says Gabriel Lenz in his paper, “Looking the Part: Television Leads Less Informed Citizens to Vote Based on Candidates’ Appearance.”

Although Lenz focuses on the television aspect of politics, he brings up a good point: we believe what we want to believe. His argument involves research into how voters respond to the superficial aspects of candidates through the influence of media. Readers should already be aware that there is bias within news. The most notorious for this is Fox Channel, which is the news source for Republicans, both extreme and regular alike (note that I use Fox as an example for media in general, in no way against Republicans or for Democrats respectively).

What Fox and other news channels do is appeal to the extreme ideologies of the parties instead of support the middle ground. What is even more startling is that contrary to popular belief, these news channels don’t do this because they truly support the parties; they do this because it’s entertainment, and entertainment brings in viewers, which in turn brings more money.

This is the truth of media bias and this is why I urge readers to devote at least 5 minutes of their time to newspapers or the internet to find true answers. This isn’t even just for politics either; it’s for every aspect of the world. An educated citizen is the one that knows when they are being brainwashed.

Another cause for concern is congress itself. For people who were elected to get bills passed and improve the quality of life in this nation, there is a lot of the opposite going on: nothing. This nation needs to be run by people who actually care about doing something for their nation rather than their party, but instead our politicians are too focused on the ego of the party.

The solution to our government crisis is simple, and because of this, it is also the most complex. If the parties move away from acting like high school cliques and more like grownups, then maybe things might be done.

When I went to those ballots, I did not walk in as a Democrat or a Republican. I didn’t even walk in as an Independent. When I walked in, I walked in as Jonathan Campos, an American citizen. If everyone did this, our government would be much more ideal rather than ideological.

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References

Lenz, Gabriel S., and Chappell Lawson. “Looking The Part: Television Leads Less Informed Citizens To Vote Based On Candidates’ Appearance.”American Journal Of Political Science 55.3 (2011): 574-589. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Dec. 2012.

Pildes, Richard H. “Why The Center Does Not Hold: The Causes Of Hyperpolarized Democracy In America.” California Law Review 99.2 (2011): 273-333. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Dec. 2012.

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Sending an SOS: The Young Adult Crisis

This past Thanksgiving I was a little more grateful than usual, amongst the usual thanks for family, health, and a roof over my head, I added something new to be thankful for: a second chance. These past two years were difficult for me: going through educational ordeals involving a wasted year in college (due to me failing), and legal issues. This season is different though; I was given a very rare second chance and came back to college to do things right this time.

The truth of the matter is, I received a chance very few people my age ever get. If it weren’t for my supportive parents, I would be on the streets begging some higher power for redemption. The current generation faces this crisis. Compared to their parents, Millennials face adulthood as a life or death situation instead of a momentous first step into the net phase of life. “High school graduates take longer now than they did in the mid-1970s to become self-sufficient and to earn enough to support a family,” states Sheldon Danzinger in his paper “Labor Market Outcomes and the Transition to Adulthood.” He is one of many authors that bring to light the truth of our crisis.

The fact is young adults are finding it harder to be successful and independent at 18. The standard model that most recognize is where parents care for their child until the age of 18 where legally the parent no longer holds responsibility over their child’s needs. In today’s time, it might seem harsh for parents to take off the work gloves and leave their children to fend for themselves at 18, but it was much more of a norm than most youth would think.

The 18-year model should work—it’s worked for centuries—yet now in this time we find a shift in the progression of young adults; more and more are staying with their parents long after they turn 18. The shift in age has become so drastic and set that 25 is the new 18, where once being 25 and living with parents was a complete social taboo, it is now virtually necessary.

The first question naturally is why the model no longer works. In Frank Furstenberg’s’ article, “On a New Schedule: Transitions to Adulthood and Family Change,” he goes into detail about American welfare, explaining that, compared to other countries, America’s funding for education leaves a lot of uncovered costs that parents must pick up. This trend, combined with inflation and a struggling economy, puts more dependency on parents. As such, there is a rising number of youth staying home longer.

He also goes on to explain factors that contribute to this radical shift. In his paper he explains, “Young people today, men and women alike, aspire to jobs that require postsecondary education. It simply takes more time than it did even a half-century ago to gain a job that is secure enough to form and support a family.” What he says makes sense: post-secondary education pertains to the age group after the 18-year marker, combine that with the fact that paying for college is like buying a house and you have a very strong reason why young adults are still living with their parents.

While it is true that an 18 year old can acquire the funding for some form of living, it is foolish to think that surviving paycheck by paycheck with barely, if any, money left over to pay for things that aren’t bills such as food is enjoyable; this isn’t a desirable life for anyone. Factors such as this make the duty of parents even more crucial to become aware of.

Unlike the past generation, young adults must invest more time in aspects of post-secondary education and job seeking to be successful. Combine these factors with the ever-rising price of college tuition and it isn’t hard to see why there is such a stronger dependence on parents today. “As well-paying unskilled and semi-skilled jobs disappeared, the single-earner family became less tenable for most Americans,” Furstenberg refers to the decline of factory labor after World War II, which had been booming in the previous years.

He continues, “Education through high school and beyond was no longer a luxury but a necessity for both men and women who aspired to middle-class employment and earnings.” This is where the shift from post-war and modern day job trends is made apparent. It makes simple sense too: supply must respond to demand. In this case, the demand for a more specialized workforce rose greatly, whereas the demand for war materials and simple workforce declined.

It is so crucial for parents to be aware of their role in their child’s lives. I plead for all parents to support their children: in the quest for shooting for the stars, parents are the only ones that can make the journey possible.

As important as it is for parents to support young adults along their journey, it is just as important for the education system to guide and prepare its students for the world. The main problem with today’s education is its priority: to secure funding.

Now to prevent uproar over my blunt statement I will clarify the reasoning behind it using the school system in Pennsylvania. The PSSA, short for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, is given by the state to analyze the ability of its schools teaching kids how to read, write, and do simple math.

Most if not all of high school curriculum is spent on preparing students for the PSSA, and the reason for this is that the state government funds those who keep their scores average to above-average scores with bonuses as incentives. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, but consider this: does basic math and literacy prepare students for adult life? The answer is a huge and bold ‘No’. The solution to the education system is a shift in the fundamental workings of how students are being taught.

Donald Millard comments on the faulty system and makes a plea towards teachers in his paper, “Preparing Students for the New Reality.” His main argument is that students go through schooling with a sense of ‘entitlement’, that primary and secondary schools foster a sense of an easy life ahead when in reality it isn’t so easy. “Many students have been lulled into complacency by protective parents, schools concerned mainly with developing students’ self-esteem, and a system that rewards everyone, regardless of their performance.” Here, he emphasizes how far from the truth students really are in relation to the challenge of post-school life.

Students are unaware of the competitive job market. I agree with Millard’s plea; the truth of the matter is, we as students have no clue what’s going on and for teachers or anyone in general to expect that we will eventually get an idea is truly absurd.

Students are highly impressionable within grades 7-12, if teachers take a couple minutes out of their lesson plan to give their students a little real-life insight, they will help students a lot more than by reinstating the belief that life will always be easy.

If I had gotten some warning before I graduated from high school about exactly what kind of beast college and adult life was, I know my first year of college would be less of a wake-up call and more of a welcome party to adulthood. Fixing the education system not only benefits this generation, but a smarter, focused workforce leads to a stronger economy.

The economy is the omnipotent enemy; everyone depends on jobs and money to survive. If we fix education and the family system, that still will not be enough to fix the crisis. Contrary to what popular media might say about presidents in relation to national debt and recession, signs of a recession preceded the time stated by news companies such as FOX and NBC. Most readers will agree that 10-15 years ago gas prices in Pennsylvania were at a maximum of $1.75, nowadays one is surely lucky to find gas here below $3.50.

In recent years, gas prices started to represent the current state of the economy, and it’s been nothing but bleak. Young adults are having the hardest time in this economy as compared to those over the age of 35. The truth is, young adults have to build themselves financially from the ground up in one of the worse times to do so.

This financial foundation is crucial to a young adult’s success in life; without a solid foothold, our generation is doomed to struggle perpetually. “A young adult’s ability to work steadily and become economically selfsufficient is a primary, if not the most important, marker of a successful transition to adulthood,” explains Sheldon Danziger in his paper, “Labor Market Outcomes and the Transition to Adulthood.”

He paints a bleak outlook for the future when he states, “The severe recession that started in December 2007 and the simultaneous large declines in the value of homes and the net worth of families imply that the economic prospects of young adults in the next several years will be worse than the data presented here suggest.” In this, he introduces many important factors of the bad economy we are in; it is not hard to find news reports today speaking of the continuous decline of the real estate industry, along with careful eyes on the stock market for anything that resembles a possible revival of the economy.

The most important part of this to realize is that young adults are more the victims than part of the cause. For most of this generation, we entered this recession with no clue exactly what was going on. There was a general idea that things would be rough, but no one could have predicted how hard it would actually be.

What’s worse is that since the economy is such a complex monster, there is no real solution on how to fix it. Some are quick to point towards the government for reform, whereas others, like Shapiro, blame older adults. If there is a true solution to this financial crisis, it will not be from one source, but a combined reform of the whole global industry around us; everything from how we buy and sell to how businesses run even to how the government manages capitalism will need to change in some way to bring about an economic reform.

We are a generation of struggle in a world of doubt and bleak outlooks, and critics are hard pressed to say otherwise. What is most important about our plight is that we are not the only victims and that is why it is so crucial for parents, grandparents, and older adults to understand that this generation cannot fix the world on its own.

Our generation still has a good 10-20 years before we are no longer in the spotlight. The world will be different then, but more importantly, the next generation will be where we are right now. The lesson to learn from all this is that, like those before us, we are creating the path for those to come.

Those in power today will not control the future, which is why it’s so crucial for us to be successful; the better our generation is, the more we can learn from the mistakes of those before us, the brighter the future for those after us will be. I am pleading for those of this generation to wake up and smell the coffee, we still have time to make things right, but only if we are willing to do so. In the end, through all the hardships encountered, it is us and only us that can fix what is broken. I envision a future that I can one day bring a child into where I will not have to fear about whether my child will make it in this world, that is why this crisis needs to be fixed, not for us, but for our children.

I leave this blog with some food for thought: next Thanksgiving, for parents, be thankful for your children and that they are still okay, and for us twenty-something’s, be thankful for your parents and how far you’ve gotten.

References

Danziger, Sheldon, and David Ratner. “Labor Market Outcomes and the Transition to Adulthood.” Future of Children 20.1 (2010): 133-158.Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Oct. 2012

Furstenberg Jr., Frank F. “On a New Schedule: Transitions to Adulthood and Family Change.” Future of Children 20.1 (2010): 67-87. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.

Millard, Donald S., and Thomas E. Slocombe. “Preparing Students for the New Reality.” College Student Journal 46.1 (2012): 18-25. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.