Posts Tagged Daily Wildcat
For whatever reason, I had an urge to dig up some of my old college newspapers columns this evening (here’s one!). They’re rather hard to find on the Internet, as the Daily Wildcat website keeps undergoing changes and futzing with the archive, but during my aimless search, I stumbled upon something that was written about me exactly two years ago today. The author, Ben, who worked with me at the school publication, had written a farewell blog post to me and fellow columnist Evan Lisull, as the two of us had just graduated college and were headed for new things. Evan’s immediate future was certain, but I didn’t quite know where I was headed:
I should have posted this a couple of weeks ago: Desert Lamp co-founder Evan Lisull and Daily Wildcat writer/editor and independent ‘blogger Laura Donovan took their bachelors’ degrees at the University of Arizona and will be moving on to bigger things.
Laura Donovan was one of the most capable people I’ve encountered on Wildcat staff in my seven years in town. No word on her future “plans” other than that the plan for now is no plan, aside from ending up in Washington DC in the fall. It should be interesting.
Best wishes to both of them in their future endeavors!
Interesting, it has certainly been, not to mention far more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. The funny thing is, I kept my word and moved to D.C., even though very few people actually thought I’d follow through with that goal. Who could blame them? I wasn’t actively searching for work. I had some vague desire to relocate across the country to the east coast, having interned there one summer and thrived off the hustle and bustle, but could I actually make the big move? With the help of Anna Baker, to whom I’m eternally grateful, I did. Tucker Carlson was kind enough to offer me my first post-college position and allow me to joke around with his other employees all day every day. Things suddenly fell into place, but I got restless. Not with the Daily Caller, which is hands down the most fun office in the country (fully equipped with a bar, ping pong table, and keg), but with D.C. in general. The politics energized me, yet I felt too old and under-stimulated with the city, which felt very business-like and sterile. I didn’t love commuting among 45-year-old suit and tie folks every morning. I was always the youngest individual on the train. Some said this was admirable, as I had my life together for a 20-something, but I found it depressing. I wanted to be surrounded by every type of person, not just bureaucratic, disillusioned, serious men. There had to me more to a city than sanitized D.C. I could have hung around my cousin more, but in the long run, I just needed to be in New York, where my weird antics would be celebrated and, well, not so weird to anyone — at least in comparison to the others around.
As much as I whine about NYC’s bipolar weather patterns and pathetic excuse for sunshine, I absolutely love living in a place in which couples can check
their teeth for food on a crowded subway home. Yes, I witnessed this happening the other night and it put a smile on my face. To an extent, I love some of the crazy people. The bars are incomparable and the subway was made for me. But thanks to my inherent need for excitement, I’ve held three full-time jobs since graduating college. For a two-year period, that is too many. I need to settle down and fully establish myself at one place. I did that at the Daily Wildcat, where I worked for two and a half years, but I was also in college at the time and school was my big focus. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until the day I die: the Arizona Daily Wildcat was the most rewarding writing experience I have ever had, and that includes all the writing positions I’ve held since then. You know why? Because it was the first platform in which I could put my sole talent and love to good use. Up until college, I’d been filling journal after journal to practice, but I rarely embraced local writing opportunities, as they were few and far between and not for me. I also wasn’t courageous enough to stand my ground back then, but college proved to be a much better, more responsive, and more open environment for that. It wasn’t until I started working for the Wildcat that I truly believed I could make a career out of writing, and by the time I left, I knew I was incapable of doing anything else. I still feel that way and am insanely lucky to have remained in the profession after college. It means the world to me to have had the support and confidence of Ben, Evan, Justyn, Jazmine, Anna, Alex, Luke, Woodhams, Lance, Misha, and everybody else on staff. I wouldn’t have made it to New York without them. Thanks, guys. The Wildcat will always and forever have my whole heart.
As a graduating senior, I’m done writing stories for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. What a great experience. Now, it’s time to find another publication to obsessively write for.
Be sure to read Jazmine Woodberry’s Everyone has a Story article on me. That was a nice way to end my time at the Wildcat. I had such a blast working in the newsroom, and I’m grateful for the friends I made all throughout my time at the newspaper. To the people who loved my articles and sent fanmail to my email account as well as the parade of people who hated me like Captain Ahab despised Moby Dick: Thank you for reading. Really.
I wrote a story on ASUA’s immigration forum, which took place after the Daily Wildcat issues stopped going out to print for the semester.
Of course, there will be a commencement issue out on Wednesday, and my final Wildcat articles will be in that. I interviewed 2009-10 ASUA President Chris Nagata and wrote a short blurb for the “Top 10 News Stories of the Year” section. And that’s it. C’est fini.
Speaking of French, I am delighted to be going to France in exactly 20 days (!!!). I’m staying at my good friend’s house in the south of France for three weeks. I will, of course, miss my Blackberry, which does not work over in Europe. I am not sure how I handled not having my Blackberry all last summer…Call me superficial, but my one vice is my cell phone. I’m not into shopping, television, or sports, but I’m all about texting and bbm’ing. Quel dommage. Does anyone know if I can order a phone (with my same number and contact information) to take with me to France? I am sure it can be done..
I’d be lying if I said I don’t want the Eat Pray Love story to happen to me during my France trip.
I’ve actually never read the book, but I know the gist, and I’m hoping for revelatory experiences now that I’m graduating and leaving behind everything I know, cheesy as that sounds. I’ve already studied abroad in France, so this will be more relaxing, not to mention a great opportunity to practice my French again. I’m excited to spend more time with my friend Lola and her family, all of whom are absolutely incredible. Let’s hope I can learn to cook Croque Monsieur, and for the love of God, I hope to maintain my size. Last time I went to France, my host family gorged me with bread, pasta, and Nutella. Didn’t do wonders for my figure. I guess that’s part of the Eat Pray Love experience, though, being that the author gains a mess of weight during her year in Italy, and who wouldn’t? Anyway, here’s to exceptional cuisine, swimming, traveling, good friends, nights out on the town, and great memories.
Ever since its DVD release on April 27, I’ve watched It’s Complicated an obscene number of times. As you know, I’m anti-television shows (aside from Gilmore Girls and Sex and the City), so I only turn on the TV to watch movies. It’s Complicated is playing in my mini-DVD player right now. I just like to have it on for background noise, and I am not ashamed to admit that I adore Meryl Streep.
My two finals are separating me from the rest of my life. Boy, will Friday and Saturday be surreal.
Tomorrow, I am going to hatha yoga class. I’ve definitely missed doing yoga, but I haven’t had time since last semester. Plus, nothing beats yoga classes in Santa Cruz. Just sayin..
Read my column about Obama’s speech at Notre Dame University in today’s issue of the Daily Wildcat.
Props to my fellow Wildcat columnist, Heather Price-Wright for publishing an excellent column on school bullying in today’s newspaper. In my opinion, the meat of the article is the opening paragraph, which speaks true to the atrocious behavior of junior high school students who pick on others:
Unless you’re one of a blessed few, you have been bullied at some point in your life.
For many, the worst instances of bullying occurred in middle school, between the ages of about 11 and 13. Boys hit; girls backstabbed. It was awful all around. And the worst part was that none of the grownups seemed to notice, or care. Teachers and administrators insisted that bullying was harmless teasing, that it built character, and warned that nobody likes a crybaby.
She’s dead-on about teachers’ apathy towards school bullying. In most cases, they’ll say, “Don’t be a tattle tale,” or utter something equally meaningless, and the harasser will continue with his ways.
I was picked on constantly from 6th-8th grade, and most teachers and administrators told me that they couldn’t help me. In one case, a female teacher joined in on the harassment and told her students that I was dumb. How would you feel if a teacher also agrees that you’re weird and deserving of abuse? Any “grown up” who behaves like this is a catty sociopath who doesn’t have the compassion to reach out to young children. Sadly, though, some teachers never grow up and like to involve themselves in student drama.
The only one to truly defend me as an adult should was my father, who sent a rabid letter to the Superintendent. My dad overreacted, and as a result, the principal told the entire faculty about me and made my life difficult for my remaining year at that school (thanks dad).
I’ll never forget when the entire 8th grade gathered together in August 2001. We sat in the gymnasium, and my two best friends and I chose to sit at the top of the bleachers. The principal approached the bleachers with a man I didn’t recognize, and she pointed directly at me and said, “That’s the girl,” singling me out in front of my whole 8th grade class. That was just one out of millions of times that year that I wished I could fast forward to young adulthood, and here I am, thank God.
The world of bullying is deplorable, especially once you figure out that school officials can be just as insensitive as the bullies themselves. My old junior high is probably a lost cause, but most sensible schools are made up of instructors that have the best intentions for students and want to avoid bullying at all costs.
At the same time, there’s not a lot teachers can do about bullying, which goes on at school and even at home. With new technologies, it’s possible to harass a student 24/7. I was lucky that the internet wasn’t popular until the end of my seventh grade year, but I was still taunted via AOL Instant Messenger from time to time.
I complain a lot, but nothing in my experiences compare to the late Meghan Meier who hanged herself after being cyber bullied and duped into thinking a cute teenage boy liked her. Blogger and grown woman, Lori Drew created a fake Myspace account of a young attractive boy, “Josh” who messaged Meghan about going on a date. They started an online relationship, and Meghan spent a lot of time online. Meghan took her own life after “Josh” broke up with her through a Myspace message. Ms. Drew went on to title a blog entry, “Meghan Had it Coming.”
The Meghan Meier tragedy is an example of how technology gives bullies an advantage, and it also proves that teasing can occur more often than in the past, therefore it’s a bigger threat now than it was in my day. Instructors cannot be the police all the time, but their actions should speak as loud as their words. If a student who physically abuses another is supposed to be suspended according to school policy, then all students who assault classmates should, in fact, face suspension. There’s no reason why they should be let off easily or just told not to make the same mistake twice.
Unless the bullies are faced with grave consequences, they’ll usually keep harassing other students, particularly the nice ones who don’t have the large groups of friends. Teachers and principals can give “warnings,” which work for a week and then the harasser continues abusing his classmates because he thinks enough time has passed.
There’s always the threat of suspension and/or expulsion, but as I learned in middle school, these punishments are rarely enforced. In the 7th grade, this one pretty girl bothered me every day for three months, and she threatened to kill me in jest. Among the school rules, this was the king of all no-no’s. Every year, police officers would visit our classrooms and state that all death threats would automatically result in suspension as a minimal punishment. According to these men, my harasser would be toast for what she did.
But administrators said that she didn’t actually intend to hurt me, so she wasn’t penalized. The two of us had a sit-down conference about conflict resolution, and that was the extent of her punishment. Obviously, the teasing went on and she went around telling classmates that she got away with misbehaving because she was close with the vice principal.
How can adults let this continue? What does it say about the way they think people should treat each other? I don’t plan on going into the teaching profession, but if I ever did, I’d make sure each student who mistreats another would face the consequences. There are no exceptions for joking about murdering another student, or writing obscenities on walls and signing that student’s name.
Back to Price-Wright’s column. As I stated above, there isn’t much adults can do to monitor teasing, especially since the most demonic of bullies know how to hide their actions and manipulate teachers, but instructors can see to it that bullies get proper punishment.
As Price-Wright reported, some instructors use ineffective methods to prevent harassment:
Middle schools in über-wealthy Scarsdale, NY are building the vague ideal of “empathy” into their classrooms. Even the parents are helping out, with the PTA pledging not to allow their children to wear the special sweatshirts distributed as party favors at the “popular” crowd’s bar and bat mitzvahs. There are mandated days on which students must sit with a different crowd than usual in the cafeteria, and art projects focused on the “less fortunate.”
You can stop teasing, but you can’t force friendship. The students won’t all get along. I know I would have been mad if I were told to hang out with my harasser and her group of elitist friends in middle school. We had nothing in common and she thought she was better than me in every way. I would have been content to just have her tolerance, but I didn’t want her camaraderie. These schools in New York are doing students a disservice by trying to get everyone to like each other. It won’t happen. The word “clique” has such a negative connotation, but students form groups with people they’re comfortable around, and there’s nothing wrong about that.
As Price-Wright concludes: The only thing teachers can do to create a comfortable environment is to be kind and show everyone that they cannot get ahead by being nasty to others. Thankfully, I had a few wonderful middle school teachers who understood my viewpoint.
Even though he scolded me for slacking off (which resulted from my disgust in the school), John Magliato of Scotts Valley Middle School empathized with me. Half the teachers did the same, but only Magliato, Mr. Matlock, and Ms. Frey proved to me that I didn’t need to change who I was to impress my other classmates. They didn’t care how conventionally “cool” anyone was: All students had to be respectful of each other.
Cheers to every teacher who brings kindness and sympathy into a classroom. Though I couldn’t stand much of the faculty who sided against me, I never forgot that Mr. Magliato and Matlock didn’t allow harassment on their clock, and they made it known that they thought teasing was unfair, pathetic, and immature. They stood up for all types of students, and best of all, they didn’t pick favorites. Everyone was equal and teasing was not acceptable. That’s about the best you can do to prevent bullying.