Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Since many of the girls already talked about what we did in class today, I just wanted to share an event held for the people in my hall.

This evening, my RA, Sophia, set up an ice cream social for the girls on my floor. Not only did she put together this
optional event to help us socialize and know more about each other, but she also turned it into a Q and A about interviewing. I'm not sure if the other RAs here at Brown plan functions like these, but I'm glad mine does! Just like the college Q and A I attended last week with Meuy and Mercedes, I was given much advice about interviewing whether it's for a job or college admission. Sophia even did a mock interview with another RA and then we analyzed the strong and weak aspects. Some of the pointers our group was given were:
  • be sure to look up information about the college
  • know exactly why you want to attend
  • keep eye contact with the interviewer
  • when asked a question, take some time to think of the answer rather than starting and then gathering your thoughts in the middle of answering
  • whenever you are asked about a time when you acted as a leader or resolved a conflict, talk about the experience, relate it to yourself and your qualities, and then try to explain how you would use these characteristics for the school you're applying to
  • try to make the interview seem like a conversation instead of a question and answer routine
  • always be prepared to ask a question at the end!

I definitely like how here at Brown there are several activities planned to help answer questions about college or the application process. Attending these events will be helpful for me in the future, and the information I share with others will be useful if they have an questions about applications or interviewing. 

This Whole Day Was Late

Today I woke up late. My roommate said that he would wake me up becuase he always wakes up early, but today he ended up waking up at 8:00 . That gave me only a little less time to get ready and grab a quick snack right before class started. Class was pretty fun today. We were assigned a project about Nike and about the sweatshops that are used all over the world. My group has to find a way to make students stop buying Nike items and we have to make Nike stop distributing these items as well. I learned where all of my clothes came from today too. Mostluy in Honduras or China. Then I was late again. I could have sworn that we didn't have a meeting today, but I was amazingly wrong because we had a meeting today with the dean! I didn't know this so I went to the gym with my RA's and friends, and I got a phone call from Tiffany about an hour or two later. I ran back to the dorm as fast as I could, but I ended up running the wrong way and got lost. I then had to ask a lady directions to the Sciences Library (because that's my landmark for this city) and she pointed me in the opposite way I was heading! If it wasn't for that lady I probably still would have been lost haha. But I made it back in time to hear Dean Rose speak and I apologized and everything was fine. I just got back from playing a game of MANHUNT with everybody from Harkness. It was pretty fun until somebody ruined the game and try to make a "better" version. That's when everyone left and then I wrote this. Hope everyone is doing well.

Eating Disorders

We had a presenter come present to us today on eating disorder. Amanda, a Brown student, was diagnosed with anorexia in her freshmen year in college. Now she is going to be a senior and graduate and she wanted to inform people about eating disorders, especially since she went through it herself.

What I found interesting was that people do not think they are anorexic or bulimic even if they are beyond unhealthy. An example Amanda used was that when she use to look at herself in the mirror, she would see a fat lard. Then she would look at another person who was exactly the same weight but she would find them in the nice weight spectrum. This is the complicated part; people diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia only find flaws within themselves.

Eating disorders are due to the pressure from family and friends to be perfect. Amanda said she did not know this until she was finally diagnosed with anorexia but when she was younger, she used to be chubby and her mother would watch what she ate. For example, when Amanda picked up something containing a lot of fat, her mother would retort " Do you know how much calories is in there?!" This kind of attitude towards her led to her eating disorder.

I used to get disgusted when I see interviews of people with eating disorders. Some people just do not know when they are going overboard and jeopardizing their life! However, from Amanda's personal experience, I understand why sometimes they feel an urge to purge or binge; it is difficult to stop especially in today's society. There is a huge pressure for females to be a specific weight and look a specific way. This lead some girls to believe that they have to purge or binge to lose weight and look like a "celebrity."

I found out that eating disorders are very hard to treat as well. In Amanda's case, she had to go through a 12 step treatment and they were closely watched every hour of the day. They retained no privacy even while in the bathroom. They had a specific dress code in case they hid anything in their sleeves or anything of that sort. Now, I view them as strong people because they have to go through so much to get treated. It shows how dedicated they are to rehabilitating so now I respect them.

Well, good night and expect another blog tomorrow.

Today's connection to last year

Today in class we had a very interesting conversation and presentation on eating disorders. But the part that I found the most interesting was how many times the girl presenting to us said um. I recall learning from a guest speaker that whenever giving presentations or speeches to avoid saying the word um or like. Even though I know she is not a professional, it still bothered me a lot that she said it so many times. It got to a point where I couldn't hear a thing she was saying and just started counting the ums. I feel that public speaking is very essential in order to present yourself in a professional manner. I'm very glad that I learned this important skill last year in the Women and Leadership course here at Brown. This just goes to show you how beneficial it is to be able to attend courses like that, and I wouldn't have been able to come to Brown without the ILC. Other then that her presentation was very informative and she even told us about her own experience which must have been really hard for her to do. I could never imagine going through the things she did, it just doesn't seem possible. But that just justifies how society pushes people (mainly women) to look a certain and make them feel like they have to be a certain weight to look beautiful. I also got a lot of information on this last year in my women and leadership class. Well that's all for today!


Today in class we primarily discussed women in the postwar era. Such as, how women were getting married and having kids at young ages, which resulted in the baby boom. Also how women were placed in a domesticity sphere and how odd it would be if they left the sphere and got a job other than being a housewife.

We talked about appliances again in correspondence with Betty Crocker and her cake mixes. Surprisingly enough, I didn't even know that Betty Crocker wasn't a real person. The pictures that were put on Betty Crocker's merchandise changed as the years went on. Where in the 50's, Betty looked very motherly and like a housewife, but in the 80's she looked like a business woman. Funny how ideals change.

Ideals with television also changed. After the war, sitcoms such as I Love Lucy and the Honeymooners expressed women's dislike of being a housewife and wanting to enjoy the world outside her home. However a couple of years later, sitcoms like I Love Lucy and Ozzie and Harriet expressed totally different ideals. Instead, June Cleaver was a happy housewife who enjoyed waiting on her husband and sons' hand and foot.

After this discussion, we watched Eyes on the Prize, which was about African-American students trying to break the color barrier and enter non-integrated all white schools. Watching this film made me realize once again in my life how fortunate I am to able to go to school with people of all different races and even be able to attend such a great summer program at an Ivy League School.

The past 7 days of class I had has taught me a lot, and refreshed my memory about WWII and the Cold War era. I am able to learn more about society rather than government as I had in school. In regards to its teachers and classes, Brown would be a great school to go to. But the atmosphere and lack of excitement don't really suit me; which explains why I am so excited for our trip to New York/Columbia University.

Well, I will talk to everyone tomorrow! Goodnight.

Catch Up Day

John Brown House
Meeting with Dean Rose
Today was a catch up, catch my breath day. When I completed that I went up the hill to Brown and toured the John Brown House, which was very interesting. John Brown made his fortune as a slave trader and built the most splendid house on the hill. Years later his son Nicholas gave a large amount of money to the then "College of Rhode Island" so the college was renamed Brown University after the Brown family. In the 30's the house was donated by the Brown family to the Rhode Island Historical Society. In recent years, the house has been restored back to the original state.

At 5 I met with the students and Dean Rose joined us to chat with the students about their classes, roommates, being away from home and other gerneral subjects. It was a very productive hour and Dean Rose has been so hospitable and supportive for all of us. The sun was out all day today so we are feeling energized by the extra Vitamin D!

"A slap in the face"

In today's 5:00pm meeting with Ms. Kent, Dean Rose asked me how my class was going she told us not to sugarcoat it to tell her the truth. Which is where I was able to finally say exactly what I am feeling. I told her that my class is challenging and that "its a slap in the face," why? because going from one of the top students in my class to one of the slowest in the class is a shocker. It saddens me that I did not learn that same things in AP Biology as these rising sophomores in my. That none of the science classes I took prepared me for what I had coming here at Brown. While this inspires me to try to help to improve the classes at school and talk to students in my school and share my experiences with them so they don't take a "slap in the face" the way I did. Thinking about the unfairness in this country brings tears to my eyes. How can tax payers allow this? How can school administrators allows this? How can California allow this? I now know that I am not dumb, it was just that I was not prepared the same way that these students in my class have.

Class.... Class was definitely exiting today. Today we learned about the muscular system! After the hour and half of lecture and an hour and a half for lunch we went to the lab and dissected a....CAT! I never got the chance to dissect anything other than a fetal pig and a rat in RHS so this was a big deal to me! Our first cat (not named) was weird so we had to get it switched and in return we got FAT JO! ha ha. That is what my partner, Kara and I named our second cat because it has a LOT of FAT! It took us the three and a half hours to De-fat the cat we also barley had time to identify all the muscles in the chest and in the arm. This was definitely interesting. I cant wait to return to the lab tomorrow to finish dissecting Fat Jo.

Until Tomorrow,
Carla Ramirez

The Second Day of School

Today we started class acting we were at a baptists church in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. I acted as an usher and greeted people in my class to their seats. Then we started with at song by the name of "Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed On Freedom." It's a wonderful song and it gives you the feeling of how African-American people felt during the time and they stayed focused.

After that we watched a movie called "Eyes On The Prize" volume 5, it was about Mississippi and how they tried to get voting rights. It was a very interesting,moving, and very informative.
I didn't know that African-Americans weren't allowed in democratic conventions and many people fought for it like protested in front of the convention. A lady by the name of Ms.Fannie Lou Hammer was the leader of the protest and she really made her voice be heard. You could tell how passionate she was about her work.

The second part of class we watched the Will.i.am" Yes We Can" video and we talked about how it affected us and what made him do the video. I read a interview that he did about the video and he said that he did it to inspire and not to make a profit about it.


Experiments and Experiences

My day in class started today with Dr. J, my professor, explaining and demonstrating the studies of Stanley Milgram. Stanley Milgram was interested in how people go against their morals and ethics if authorities tell them to do so. In 1963 he conducted an experiment which involved a volunteer questioning another person and every time the person got the answer wrong they would shock them and every time the answer was incorrect the volts per shock would increase. The Volts went up and up and the deal was that the person shocking another keep going no matter how bad they felt for the subject. Out of 50 people 26 people went through with shocking another person with extreme voltage. Towards the end of the test the person being shocked would be silent to make the shocker believe they had just murdered the subject. I found the results of this experiment to be very interesting. I realized what people are capable of doing under certain pressure.
The second half of the class today was a presentation from a Brown Medical student whom had a personal experience with anorexia and bulimia. Therefore she gave the class a presentation on Eating Disorders. It was interesting because we got to learn the cause and effects and the different type of eating disorders as well as learning how to treat them. It was helpful to hear it from someone who actually went through it.
This class has really showed many things that can go wrong in one's life. And it has been an eye opener to the many opportunities I have had and how I have a good life. Therefore I can help others who need a helping hand or a little push in life.

There is no comparison

Recently, I was asked "how [Brown] compares to what [I am] doing at El Cerrito High School... Do[es El Cerrito] have the rigor? Are other students more prepared than [El Cerrito's] students? What are [my] observations about our readiness?"

I didn't even have to think for a second before I knew the answer.

El Cerrito High School does not compare. Not at all.

I can honestly say, this is the only course I've taken in my high school career in which I asked a teacher for help.

I can honestly say, my times at Brown and Cornell are the only times in my high school career that I've been surrounded by motivated students.

I can honestly say, this is the only time I've gotten lower than a B+ on a quiz in my high school career.

I can honestly say, El Cerrito High School hasn't prepared me at all for the work I'm doing here.

I could count on one hand the number of students at El Cerrito, including my self, who even begin to compare to these kids.

Its not that they're smarter than us. But they're more prepared, their schools offer accelerated math programs starting in middle school, they offer programs in conjunction with local universities, they offer AP Latin, AP Physics, AP Economics, AP Psychology, even AP Art. They offer IB, fencing, and lacrosse.

These kids have been to Turkey, Japan, or Bonnaroo.

How do we even begin to compete with these kids? Kid's who have spent their whole lives preparing for the SAT's, whose parents are doctors, scientists, or ambassadors?

When it comes down to it, I guess we just have to do our best, ask for extra help, and grab every opportunity with our teeth and hold on tight. Because if we don't, we can kiss the east coast goodbye.

Until next time,
Joseph Young

The Fundamentals

That's basically what we've been learning in Macroeconomics - the fundamentals. Without a strong foundation, all the higher level thinking and problem solving that goes on in economics would be harder to grasp. For example, today we went over money growth and inflation. The way we're taught the concept is that, in a perfect closed economy, without any outside forces changing the behavior of the market, when the government prints more money, it inevitably leads to inflation. Also, the central bank (ex. the Fed) can control how smaller banks do their business by changing interest rates and by selling/buying bonds.

This led to a discussion about our current economy. A simple model like the one above, was able for the most part explain what happened in the economy. However, of course, our current state of market is a ton more complicated and intricate than what a basic intro to macroecon model of a closed economy can tell.

My day, in all,was spent well. Joseph and I got breakfast at the Sharpe Refectory, the new place that opened which is a whole lot closer than the V-dub from where we're staying; It's so convenient now. After meeting with Ms. Kent, my floormates and I went to see Transformers 2 in IMAX. Holy cow it was thrilling to see all the explosions fill my plane of view and the booms shake my body. It was good to be able to have something to do in the afternoon seeing that most of the time, there aren't many things to do on campus. My RA tells me its more exciting during the school year, I believe him.

New Teacher, New Decade

So today in my class we had a new teacher to teach us about the 50s. She talked about image vs. reality and that our image or perception of the perfect 50s were basically false. She explained that the 50s is more complex than we think and that there were still post-war anxieties. We also talked about suburbanization and appliances.

With suburbanization, our teacher elaborated about the ideal of the nuclear family and how this ideal was advertised a lot on TV. For the housewives of these nuclear families, appliances were a must. New appliances for cooking were most popular, especially with supermarkets becoming a phenomenon.

We then watched a documentary about the 1950s that discussed religion, fear of another Depression, emotional crisis revolving around splurging, and especially advertisements.

After the documentary we talked about it and the lecture. Surprisingly we were able to leave class early. Hopefully tomorrow will be the same kind of fulfilled learning day.

"Cheating from the Starting Line"

Today, in class we had a lecture on neuroscience from Vicky, one of our TAs who is an upcoming junior at Brown. We then broke into our discussion groups to discuss Thinking in Pictures, a book about Temple Grandin and autism. This was definitely a much harder read than The Quiet Room since I was able to try and connect with Lori Schiller on a more emotional level. Parts of Grandin's memoir were interesting, but after a while, it seemed extremely repetitive and just explained the disorder like a textbook. I would've liked to read more personal accounts, rather than the facts about autism. Hopefully I will be able to get into the book more as I read it. We then heard two presentations from our classmates. I thought they were great and definitely helped me since I will be presenting my study, The Power of Conformity, on Wednesday.

However, the most interesting part of the class today was actually the homework. We had to read two articles, but the one I could related to more was “Cheating from the Starting Line.” It was basically about how more and more students are beginning to cheat and why. Two schools, Horace Mann and Stuyvesant, were mentioned in the article for having the most money and some of the best resources. Even with all these advantages, the students still go to great lengths in order to receive a good grade in class. From forcing tutors to do their work to asking doctors to write notes for medical illnesses, this article showed me how students will not stop until they achieve their goals. I was a bit surprised, but at the same time, I wasn't. Although my parents may not push me as hard as these kids, I still want the best grades I can receive. Thus, of course there will always be a small part of me that thinks it would be so much easier to look over someone else's shoulder or get a note from my doctor in order to receive more time on a test. However, I resist giving into these temptations because I know in the long run, it would only hurt instead of help me. I started to become irritated because even with all these rich, top-rated schools with all the best resources the students continue to use technology (with the internet, e-mail, and even calculators) to avoid work. I go to one of the low-rated schools in my area, and reading an article like this makes me even more frustrated. I feel the wealthier teens in the world should embrace the blessings they have at their prestigious schools because there are other kids who do not have the same resources. It's infuriating to know I must work ten times harder in order to compete when these teens simply weasel their way through school. However, now I also feel motivated to strive. In the end, dishonesty only hurts the cheater.