It’s Certain Now

I’m graduating.

Some of you may know that my graduation ceremony happened over three weeks ago and be thinking, yes, yes we know, you actually already graduated, is it only now clicking?

Well I walked across the stage, shook the hand of the President of the university and was given a diploma holder, but three weeks ago it wasn’t certain I was going to graduate.

Now realistically it probably was certain based on where I was going into exams, but to be really, really literal, our final grades weren’t in yet so we had no way of knowing and I had one class, this oneeee classssss that was worrying me a bit.

You see it was an ethics course, Ethics in the Marketplace, and while a business course it was also branched under philosophy and the last philosophy class that I faced off with nearly got me. I just scraped through that one with a D and I honestly don’t know how I even managed that. It was required for my minor and heading in I didn’t know it was philosophy. The methods and arguments all seemed so confusing and it being an 8:30am class probably didn’t help a whole lot either. When I sat down in my first Ethics class in January, a required course for my major, and found out it was a philosophy course my heart sank. And then, to top it all off, 20% of our grade was reliant on participation. My last philosophy course had gone badly and I’d never taken a business course; I felt at rather a disadvantage.

A few weeks in, time comes round for the first assignment to be due and the instructions were a bit vague so I did my best and waited to see what my mark would be. The day the assignments were being handed back I logged online to peek at my mark before the papers came round and was floored to see I had a 0. 0%? How can you even get 0% if you handed anything, like literally anything, in?!

After class I went up to the prof because my paper hadn’t even been handed back and he was like, “Oh yeah, did I forget your email in my inbox? Whoops! I’ll get that to ya as soon as I can!” (Super chill guy, probably my second favourite prof throughout university. Has like flowing, shoulder-length, ringletted, white hair and a double piercing in one ear in which he always has a set of two hoop earrings. I say he’s the retired pirate prof)

So next class, before it starts, he comes and stands in front of me and says, “So we have a problem.” My stomach drops and I’m nearly panicking, did I do it completely wrong? Did I misunderstand everything? Am I going to fail? Am I not going to graduate? Am I going to have to stay another year for this one course? Whyyyyy crueeeeel worldddddddddddd…. Etc.

“Your assignment is really good! You need to speak up more in class!” Relief could have melted me onto the floor in that moment. And while the class did end up being one of my favourites overall it was still very challenging. I always felt like I was uncertain in what I was doing and yet my marks usually implied I was doing alright so the exam was going to be the final test (like, literally, cause it was the last test, but like it also determined like everythi-you get it, it’s a bad pun :P)

Realistically I could have gotten 0 on the exam and passed the course, not well! But passed. Well, my mark was entered into the system two days ago. I done good guys… I done good.

I’m graduating.

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The Need of Internet

I don’t need the Internet anymore.

Now there are a couple things in this sentence you could confront me on, first, need – who needs the Internet? But also anymore – so I did need it then? And what changed?

I’m reading a book for my Media and Society class right now called The Digital Invasion: How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships and it’s sort of freaking me out a tad but I think I’m also learning lots. It talks about Internet addiction and how it affects our brains and how we function and how it changes our relationships (for better and for worse, it’s not a doomsday book, they acknowledge that there are benefits!) but it’s making me consider how much I use the Internet and social media and why.

I began using the Internet more and more starting from around age seventeen. A friend introduced me to the vlogger (video-blogger) side of Youtube and within a few months I was vlogging myself. At this time I was in grade twelve and slowly giving into minor depression as I grew increasingly afraid of my unknown future and saw my friends all drifting into the great unknown. I felt that I was losing my friends, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, didn’t like my part time job at a grocery store post-grad (I would “entertain” myself by seeing how far into a shift I could get without talking to someone. I clearly wasn’t a cashier!) and wasn’t pushing into God and building my faith thus allowing that to drift away too. I was lonely.

And the Internet, oh the Internet! The Internet helped me find friends, find friends fast and who had common interests and fun hobbies. I had Facebook, and now Youtube, next was Twitter and Tumblr, more and more ways to connect with my new friends. Now I’m not bashing this because it actually served a purpose in where I was at because as I somewhat dissolved into “living in” the Internet, it also helped bring me back out. I went to a convention in California, meeting friends I’d only previously known online. I’ve since gone on a second trip to DisneyWorld with them. I began organizing meet ups in Winnipeg a couple times a year for other people who were fans of some of the same Youtubers as I was.

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2012

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2012

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2013

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2013

The Internet sucked me in, yes. I became too reliant on it, yes. But it also helped me grow, a lot. I planned my portion of two trips out of the country and then travelled there alone. I organized meet-ups with people I’d never met before and spent time getting to know them. As I found solace online I began to gain more confidence in my real life outside of the Internet. I made friends with coworkers, I reconnected with high school friends, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As I gained a few subscribers on Youtube I began to value my voice and think about what I was saying more and through vlogging I actually developed an interest and some practical skill in video making, an aspect of what I hope my future career will involve.

Lately the Internet hasn’t been very fulfilling though. It’s no longer serving the purpose it once did and I think perhaps I’ve outgrown it. It’s not that I don’t value the friendships I made while regularly vlogging or even regularly watching Youtube videos – I do, very much, I would consider many of them to now be friends, but I no longer solely need the Internet to feel that I am connecting with people and being heard. I begin to find it tiresome, Internet connections cannot interact the same way as people in real life. I have friends and hobbies and goals and a life that extends past the limitations of my laptop and my wifi. I can appreciate the ability to stay connected using social media and the like, but I prefer to see friends in person and actually go out and to things and build relationships in that sense. And that’s a big change for me. There was a time when I would Facebook message you instead of trying to get together in person. Now, well… now I’ll do both 😉

I suppose over the last five years I’ve been able to mature and get to know myself better. I’ve experienced life online, and it’s fun for a time and serves its purpose, but I’ve discovered it’s crucially important to maintain a solid foundation in the real world. To be able connect with people in person is something that cannot be replaced and it is only through the challenges and bumps that we face along the road that we can grow, and those are rarely found within the safe walls we build up for ourselves online. Online is a place to hide from challenges and bumps, however, in the sage words of The Sound of Music‘s Reverend Mother, “These walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.”

-B

Long Story Short

Hello, long time no post. How’ve you been? Yeah? Cool/That’s great/Sorry to hear that/Really?

I’ve been good. I mean today wasn’t the best morning but generally I’ve been good, really.

I haven’t posted a personal post on this blog since September 13 when I explained that I would be using this blog for a school project for the semester. I did that and then kind of ditched, sorry! Guess I got blogged out. But really what that means is you know nothing about how my junior year of university is going! Here’s the cliffsnotes version from September to now:

  • I’m doing a lot more major-specific courses at university this year and it’s really fun! I like my major, yayyyy! I started practicum in January, I’m working with the communications and media department at my university so that’s fun! Also really convenient because I commute out to school which takes up a good two hours of driving each day, so doing my practicum at school means I can use my long spares for something productive and I don’t have to do yet another thing on top of homework when I finally make it home at the end of the day!
  • I have a boyfriend. His name is Ryan, I like him lots and we’ve been dating for five months. I don’t know what else to say about this, umm ask questions if you want…?
    Haha okay so here’s the deal, I never know how to talk about relationship stuff and its not because I want to keep it quiet or anything I just don’t want to overshare or seem like I’m boasting in the wonderfulness that is our relationship (which I could do, really!). I’m more than happy to answer questions if you care but don’t expect me to volunteer much unprompted!
Internet, meet Ryan.

And now for your formal introduction, Internet, meet Ryan.

  • I really want to work at DisneyWorld. Haha alright so this isn’t really new, this has been years in the making, but this past spring I applied for the Disney Cultural Exchange program which would have meant I would have been working at Disney World, FL for three months over the summer. I got an interview but would have had to fly out to Toronto for a forty-five minute meeting which I just couldn’t do as a somewhat broke college student. So alas my dreams of working at Disney have been dashed for now but who knows… after all, Winnipeg has a Disney Store!
IMG_7659

See, Disney means hanging out with friends! Disney is a happy place to be!

  • My mum has officially had her new kidney for over a year! Some of you may remember last January when my mum had a kidney transplant due to kidney failure. January 8th was the one-year anniversary of that surgery and everything continues to go swimmingly! The kidney took really well and she’s got more energy and is able to sleep better and eat more and all sorts of things! It’s really nice =)
  • I have managed to keep Rory the fish alive for a year and four months. He’s still swimming folks! That means he has survived me for ten months longer than any of my past fish did… Good job Rory.

So there my update for ya and for future me who may just be narcissistic enough to come back and read these one day… I probably won’t be posted regularly on here because school is craaaaazy and life’s busy but I’ll try my best to pop by! In the meantime, if you’re just dying to keep up with all my comings and goings, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@rlpbeckleston) or Instagram (@rlpdean). I’m around there pretty often!

It’s nice to be back =) Hope all your present endeavors are going well! Talk to ya later!
-B

In Conclusion

Today marks the end of three months of daily (week-day daily) blogging for my Writing in the Media course. I’ve been blogging semi-regularly since April of 2013, in fact from 2013-2014 I did almost a year straight of daily blogging, so I wasn’t new to the concept when we began in September. There was of course more structure for these blogs as they were an assignment and that’s where the rub came in.

We were asked to report on events, or news stories, things worthy of being in “the media” and finding these topics proved more difficult than anticipated. I do not have cable, I do not listen to the radio often, I do not get a physical newspaper, and I’ve discovered that a surprising number of newspapers won’t let you read their articles online unless you pay a subscription fee. This narrowed down my options.

Even with limited resources, I really enjoyed this project. It was a good experience getting to see what it’s like to write articles regularly and to have to hit minimum word counts and such in this context. It did not change my mind about journalism – I’m still not fond of it and it’s not the field I would like to work in, but it did give me a better, though still very basic, understanding of what it would be like.

Space, Science, and Captain Blonde Beard

Starting off a movie with an emergency take off and presumed dead character is always a good way to go. Gets the adrenaline pumping and the audience engaged. So starts The Martian starring Matt Damon and it continues for two and a half hours of space, science, and the dangers of living alone, well, as the only inhabitant of a foreign planet with a limited source of supplies.

The movie does a great job of keeping the audiences attention as it jumps back and forth from NASA back on Earth as they discover Mark Watney (Matt Damon’s character) is still alive and figure out ways to communicate with him, back to Mars where Watney is completely and utterly alone. To keep the Martian scenes from becoming boring and drawn out, much of them is spent with Watney making logs into cameras around the compound. This gives a more personal feel to the movie as he is in a sense breaking the fourth wall for much of it and staring straight into the screen as he confides the dangers, fears, and discoveries he has while trapped on Mars.

It is a well done movie, drawing to a close with a high suspense rescue attempt. Overall a very good movie, would recommend to a friend.

Re-entering a Changing World

“What everybody became CIA or agents and stuff like that? Because that’s the only thing I can think of. Somebody walking around with wires in their ears.”

What if you had never seen someone wearing headphones, or using a cell phone? In seeing these gadgets in use for the first time, it could be quite easy to assume they were some kind of spy tech. Otis Johnson thought they could be when he re-entered society after 44 years in prison at the age 69.

Johnson is truly enjoying being free for the first time in decades and through a short documentary made by Al Jazeera we see as he relearns about the world around him and delights in the small things of life. He’s astonished by advertisements projected onto a window in Times Square, he enjoys sitting in the sun and watching people – a luxury that he was not accorded in prison. Grocery stores are a trove of new things to discover containing anything and everything from peanut butter mixed with jelly to brightly coloured Gatorade. “I started drinking that once and a while.” Johnson says, “Just because it looks funny.”

So many things in our lives can be easy taken for granted, watching someone discover them for the first time can be extremely refreshing.

Watch the full documentary here:

The Love/Hate Relationship of Photography

I have a love/hate relationship with taking photographs. I love photography and wish I knew more about how to make my camera function. I love looking at photographs and admiring the amazing shots people are able to capture through their lens. I love taking pictures and taking pictures that I like, that capture moments and tell stories, however, I have come to realize, that by taking pictures, I am not seeing things.

When I take my camera everywhere I see the world through a viewfinder. I don’t make memories I make photographs, copies of things I never truly saw. When I was younger I always had my camera with me. I have three full Facebook albums of photos all taken at one youth group bowling night back in 2008. I saw my world through a viewfinder and I missed so much. I have been able to capture memories for friend who are in the photos, they can look at them and remember what happened. I can only hear a story and reply, I think I remember seeing a picture of that! It’s not the same.

I love photography and I want to grow better at it, but I also know that its necessary to balance. See the world, experience things. Don’t just take copies of other people’s experiences, make your own too.