Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Big Sisters"

Now, to be fair, here are some of the "big sisters" in my life, since I just covered the big brothers.

- "the red-headed one"
This big sister and I have had a relationship for...oh, 8 years? I met her in homeschool study hour, and absolutely worshiped her - because at that point, I was a lowly middle school-er and she was a high school-er who talked to me. Our relationship grew, and she was less 'goddess-like' as I got older (of course, the bond of serving on camp staff together helped). I got Facebook when she was going to college, because I wanted to keep up with her life. Although we're following very different paths now (she's in Ireland, having all kinds of adventures), I really love this big sister. :)

- "the one who works for Google"
This big sister is actually officially assigned to be my peer mentor at UMBC. She's smart, and talented, and everyone adores her - me included. She's the Google campus ambassador, and in general carries herself with such confidence and grace that I can't wait to grow up and be like her. She's my CS big sister, offering me advice on professors and courses to take. We don't really interact outside of CWIT events, because of our different busy lives, but she's always got a happy smile for me when I see her.

- "the Asian one"
This big sister will probably not appreciate being referred to as a big sister - she would point out that the difference in our ages is not as great as I like to pretend that it is. I had heard a lot about her before I actually got to know her (one of my big brother figures is dating her and told me about her). When I actually started getting to know her, she proved to be exactly as awesome as he had claimed. :) We get to have lunch every week, and as a result, our relationship has become more equal, but she'll always be a 'big sister' in my mind. I get the pleasure of watching her graduate college and learn from her how best to prepare myself for graduation. She's (perhaps unknowingly) forced me to look deeper into how I represent myself as a Christian, and what parts of church government/doctorine/etc are important to me. We also talk a lot about marriage and dating. She's in a committed relationship while I am not, so I am learning things from her that wouldn't have occurred to me on my own. She claims I teach her things as well, which I would hope is true, but which I, in my own mind, highly doubt.

Like with the big brothers, there are countless more big sisters who I could write about, but the ones who are here are pretty diverse. I love that Christian community uses the terms 'brothers and sisters' (maybe because I come from a big family) because it allows anyone, from 8 to 80, to be part of these lists. :)

"Big Brothers"

As the oldest child, I don't know what it's like to have an older sibling. But I can certainly imagine. Today I'm going to wrote about some "big brothers" in my life, and hopefully later I'll get a chance to do my "big sisters". (Names are intentionally omitted - if you know them, you'll recognize them).

Today, I had the pleasure of having lunch with one of my on-campus "big brothers" after church.
It was really great, because it was just the two of us, and I hadn't had a chance to talk to him in several weeks. Also, he's one of the wise introverts I mentioned in my previous post, so we had some great DMC (Deep, Meaningful Conversation). He was the 'Woolie' on my floor my freshman year, which means he led us to orientation events and just generally introduced us to campus. He was/is one of the most devoted people I have ever met, and really focuses on strong relationships with people - which is one of the reasons I was so happy to get to talk to him today. Every single one of my floor mates (who are now sophomores) remember and miss his guitar playing, mafia organizing, and general social attitude. He just made all of us feel like someone really cared about us.

Another one of my on campus "big brothers" has since graduated - but the RA on my floor last year was my CS big brother. In addition to RAing my floor, he TA'd for the class I was in my first semester and helped all of us when we needed it. It's because of him that I want to become a UTA myself - because he inspired and assisted me as I needed it, because he really loved teaching his sections.

Another "brother" is a good friend and study buddy of mine. I don't know why he continues to be my friend - he offers me all kinds of guidance and assistance, and (from my perspective) I offer very little in return. For example, we met in STAT 355, and started studying together for the second exam. He explained countless examples to me, and I knew I wanted him to help me study for the rest of the semester. Just this afternoon, even though he had plenty of work of his own to do, he helped me debug my code for a class for over an hour. When I was dizzy and woozy from giving blood, he was genuinely concerned about me. We've had lots of great chats, and I really value his friendship. He's not that much older than me, but enough that I've assigned the "big brother" status in my mind.

My most prominent "big brother" figure is, of course, my cousin. He's almost two years older than me, and for as long as I can remember, I've loved him and wanted to play with him when we'd see each other over holidays. Thanks to technology, he and I can stay in touch even though we're miles apart at different universities, and he offers me perspective on my life, since he can actually see it from a removed stand point.

Those are just a few of the "big brothers" that came to mind, it's not an exhaustive list (and it's only the ones who are current - I've had some 'big brothers' from the past who are less involved in my life now, like my NavYouth leader, who I can't write about here because it would get way too long). I'm sure even if you have an actual big brother, you have these people in your life too - they're just so significant to some one who doesn't have one related to her by blood.


Ever since I was a little girl, I have classed myself as an extrovert. I can't even pinpoint the first time I heard the term - I know I was quite young at the time though. My father has, my entire life, pointed out to me how extroverted I am, mostly in contrast to him and my mother. I don't think two introverts quite knew what to do with their social little daughter - and my younger sisters, who are also introverted, widened the gap between me and introverts, since they all hid in shyness from most of my parents friends. In fact, just a few weeks ago, my father took me to a dinner event and introduced me as his extrovert. It's almost a pet name at this point - like he's proud of me for it, albeit a bit bewildered at how it makes us different.

I've taken the Meyers-Briggs' 3 times officially, and I do always fall on the extroverted side, but usually only very slightly. I was kind of shocked when my friend Christina pointed out that she actually thought of me as more introverted. She explained it was because I didn't mind comfortable silence, because I, when in a large group of people, probably won't introduce myself to strangers, and because I find comfort in curling up in quiet. I suppose she does have a valid point - when compared to her, I am an introverted person. Just more proof that the world isn't black and white, like Meyers-Briggs wants us to believe it is.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Social Justice

There are tons of campaigns. There are tons of causes. There are also tons of critics.

I'm guessing you've seen the Kony 2012 video that is going viral this week. And if you've seen the video, soon you'll be seeing the criticisms. Soon you'll be seeing the people saying it's a scam. Here's the deal. I DON'T KNOW if it's a scam or not, and frankly, neither do you.

Only God knows the heart and motivation of the Invisible Children organization. We live in a fallen world, with fallen people, who will use social justice as a way to scam people. There are also people who aren't trying to scam you, but social justice is harder than you think to get going and running and working. It takes money to do anything. It doesn't matter what the intent is, it takes some kind of administration and that administration costs. People are so cynical, and so critical. And perhaps they have a alternate solution.

The thing is, so many people accuse other people of being sheep, and just following the latest social justice trend because it's trendy. To those people, make sure you're not falling the other way, and following the critic trend simply because it's trendy. To other people - myself included - take a good look at your activism. See what it's rooted in, and what ways you can be active instead of just sending money. UMBC students, for you that might be going on one of the IV Urban Projects this summer, or working with Habitat for Humanity.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, because I don't think I've made a conclusive decision on where my social activism lies - I'm just sick of reading the finger pointing criticisms.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

YouTube instead of TV

I don't know how many of you all are like this, but I have a YouTube channel, not to upload anything, but simply to subscribe to my favorite "internetainers". 

We are at the point where people can make their entire living off of creating free YouTube videos. Some of the best musicians I have heard are self-made artists off of YouTube. Lots of the coolest educational material I've experienced were a result of YouTube channels. In fact, I would say I watch youtube shows instead of watching TV shows. I subscribe to a total of 30 channels, and have created 12 playlists. Here's the top ten of the channels I subscribe to:
1. edwinstudio - this channel makes some adorable CGI animated videos.
To see his channel, I recommend: Robby
2. HISHEdotcom - How It Should Have Ended. Hilarious webseries. Takes movies and changes the end.
To see this channel, I recommend: How Toy Story 3 should have ended
3. juliansmith87 - Internet comedian. I think he's hilarious, but my mom doesn't get him.
He compiled his own list of top videos:

4. kemlye1 - David Sides is one of those self-made artists. He does piano covers of pop songs.
I'd recommend: Umbrella - Rhianna & Jay-Z Piano Arrangement
5. KurtHugoSchneider (and TheSamTsui) -  two self-made artists (from Yale!). They used to share Kurt's channel, but Sam has since branched off and allowed Kurt to work with other singers.
To see their channel, I recommend their original song: Don't Want and Ending
6. lindseystomp - a "rocking out violinist". She's seriously amazing - she dances while playing the violin.
To see this channel, especially for LOTR fans: Lord of the Rings Medley - Lindsey Stirling
7. minutephysics - weekly videos that are a little over a min to explain physics concepts in simple terms
I'd recommend: There is no pink light
8. rhettandlink2 - this pair coined the term "Internetainers" and host a daily show, Good Mythical Morning.
From their first channel, I'd recommend: 2 Guys 600 Pillows (Backwards Music Video)
9. ThePianoGuys - AMAZING musical covers here. Professionals, I think.
I'd recommend this one: Just The Way you are - Bruno Mars (Piano/Cello cover) - The Piano Guys
10. Vihart - videos about Mathematical concepts, made fun and cute through doodles and candy
I'd recommend: Doodling in Math Class: Squiggle Inception