Addressing the Unavoidable: The Presidential Election

Hello. I know you’ve read a lot of these types of posts. Too many? Sure. The last thing you want to read is another rant about this election and the state of our nation but, like everyone else in the US, I have something to say. I’ll try to keep this brief since I myself have a notoriously short attention span. (Note the word, try).

Before I tell you my opinion on everything, you’re gonna need to know where I’m coming from (something we often assume we understand about our counterparts in argument when we actually know very little). My name is Zoe and I’m a junior majoring in landscape architecture. I was adopted from China. I have two moms and a stunningly beautiful sister. Avoiding confrontation is one of my talents. I try really hard to stay “politically correct.” I think composting is cool and my dream house is covered in plants and solar panels and goats mow my lawn. Also, I’m a registered Democrat.

If anything I’ve said about myself so far has made you want to stop reading, that is understandable. However, it is also the reason that we are in this so-called-mess to begin with. We pick our friends, and we can generally decided what we want to see on social media. We surround ourselves with like-minded people because agreeable conversations are so much more manageable than dissonant ones. And I can’t blame anyone for this because I do it too. Every argument is a loosing battle, especially on the internet. The more you argue, the more both sides dig their heels in. No one ever changes their mind in an argument over those infamously controversial topics like gun rights, separating church and state, abortion, legalizing weed. All that happens is me and you getting angrier than we had been before. For a society that complains an awful lot about how broken we are, it seems like there are few people actively trying to fix it. Are you waiting for someone else to go first?

Remember when George Washington told us not to make political parties? Well here we are in 2016 with our divided nation and it doesn’t seem to be going super well for anyone. The sense of hate is so strong. Not just from “one side”, but from everyone. And it’s scary. I don’t support Trump, but me continuing to hate his guts and hate everyone who voted for him is not going to make a change. In fact, it just reinforces the satisfaction that those voters have for picking a candidate that opposes everything I stand for. It tells them that this stupid college yuppie claims to be “accepting” but here she is, a hypocrite denying and arguing over the fairness of this election. That perpetuates this constant cycle of assuming and misunderstanding and that is no good.

I don’t think it has to be this way. We don’t have to hug and dance in the sunshine together holding hands or any of that nonsense. But there needs to be a better understanding of each other. There needs to be a desire to understand why we believe what we do and not have to feel the need to shove our beliefs down the throats of dissenters. We immediately jump to hate when we don’t like something because being ignorant is so much easier trying to actually understand someone who has led such a drastically different existence than you. You can’t force someone to believe what you believe because their version of the truth is not yours. And that’s OK. But living to hate certain people with certain opinions is no way to live. If you are tired of all the hate, then make a change. Hate less and ask more questions. Appreciate that they are as entitled to an opinion as you are and accept it. Is it a naive hope that people will change? Or that people will learn that understanding and acceptance must reach far beyond like-minded peers? Probably. But without hope, then what are we doing here?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oops. This ended up much longer than I thought. Anyway, thanks for listening and be nice to one another 🙂

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I Hate Football

So I try not to sound cynical on my little blog here but I had stadium cleanup yesterday and something about wading through soggy fries, water bottles, and half-drunk cups of soda just rubs me the wrong way. Actually, it makes me super pissed off. Look at this:

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That is disgusting. Putrid. Vile. Foul. Horrendous. You can pick whatever adjective you like. And unluckily for us, extra pom poms were handed out and people ripped the streamers off of the handle to watch them fly in the wind. But guess who has to clean that three second moment of joy up. Club teams. And if you think that picking up a trillion tiny pieces of soggy plastic up for 6 hours on a windy day is easy or even remotely rewarding, you best sit down and think a little harder because it SUCKS. Stadium clean up is an awful experience. They say misery loves company, but this is definitely an exception to that rule. It doesn’t matter how many people are cleaning up, it is the worst six to seven hours of your life. The only reason that Club Gymnastics and plenty of other clubs do stadium clean up is because of money, and a decent amount of it.

But I’m not just complaining about the manual labor. It’s the fact that after a game, Beaver Stadium is submerged in people’s unwillingness to clean up after themselves. Then we have to clean it all up, just so it can return to the same, awful state next weekend. I would love to leave a section uncleaned until next game so people can see how truly disgusting it is. Of course, that would never happen.

Don’t get me wrong. Penn State is definitely dedicated to sustainability in a number of ways. Their recycling system around campus is pretty comprehensive in terms of what you don’t have to throw away. There are also a decent number of LEED Certified buildings on campus (including Stuckeman!). A 2014 article in the Daily Collegian talks about Penn State’s plan to transition into a zero-waste football operation. That sounds like quite a step up from their current waste generation per game of about 70 tons (Garrity). But as to what is actually recycled. I’m still not really sure (but it certainly seems like everything is shipped off to a landfill of course I COULD BE WRONG).

IMG_8025If you can’t tell, this sort of thing gets me fired up. It’s one thing for the school to take measures to put out a copious amount of recycling bins and build sustainable structures but its incredibly difficult to get people to actually care. The problem is, it takes thought to reduce your waste. You have to sort out your recycling. Not order more than you’re going to eat in the dining hall (I also have a rant about food waste but I guess I’ll save it for another time). You have to eat less beef (The livestock industry is a huge consumer of so many limited resources like water, energy, and land, not to mention the methane and other greenhouse gas pollutants emitted during production of both the meat and grain. But that’s also another rant for another day). This is getting super wordy, but it is important. I may not have any authority, but I want to sound like I can persuasively tell you that tons of trash generated by those 107,282 football enthusiasts every week is not ok. It sucks for the environment and it sucks for the people who have to clean it up. So the next time you attend your sporting event, please, please, PLEASE pick up your half eaten fries, open containers of ranch, ketchup packets, cups of soda, t-shirts, chicken fingers, pompoms, plastic bags, glass bottles, face stickers, already chewed gum, and make some sort of effort to recycle. Thanks.

This post has been brought to you be cynicism: it probably won’t work.

The one source that I cited, even though I thought I would never ever write something by my own volition that needed cited:

Garrity, Meghan. “For Beaver Stadium, a zero-waste future in the works.” Daily Collegian. 18 November 2014. Web. 21 September 2015.

*Disclaimer: This is my opinion and should be taken with an entire container of Morton’s. But what else would you expect from a post entitled “I Hate Football”.

That’s All for Now

So I’m DONE! Done with my first year of college! Only four more to go! (Yes I said four). I actually got home on Thursday but I’ve been busy.

All in all, it was a pretty great year!  I don’t really have much to say I guess… I apologize for not getting this post up earlier but I don’t think it really matters at this point.

So, to wrap of this year, I’m gonna do something classic and list a bunch of things that I learned in college this year:

1. Everybody looks ridiculous running around campus with a back pack sometimes it has to be done.

2. All-nighters are a real thing. Not for me, though because I didn’t want to have to deal with that so I just did my work on time like some weird person.

3. Campus is the only place where it takes to cross campus with a car than by foot during class changes.

4. When they say that Penn State alumni are everywhere, they are not exaggerating. When I tell adults that I’m going to Penn State, there is a 99.9% chance that they went there, or know someone who went there.

5. Walking up Shortilage is brutal. Walking up Shortilage in below-freezing temperatures is even worse.

6. Hats are essential to survive the winter. And the winter is brutal. State College weather is no joke. One day it’ll be beautiful and the next day will be winter jacket cold.

7. Getting involved is actually a good idea. There’s a crazy amount of stuff to do!

8. Everything is and acronym. Have you gone to the UHS? Did you get your GH and GS credits? CAS is the worst. Are you living in an SLO? Which number is my PSUID?

9. Sleep deprivation is also real. I may not have had any all-nighters but that doesn’t mean I was well rested.

10. College is great! I wasn’t sure what I expected starting out with this big, new adventure but I am very happy with how it’s going.

So I guess that’s all for now! See you next fall on the new season of “Zoe’s College Adventure”!!!

I’m Having Test Anxiety Anxiety

Well, class is officially done! Papers have been written and presentations have been terribly given. All that’s left now is…FINALS.

Ah, finals week.Where every student on campus is cooped up studying, trying to ignore the enticing golden rays of sunshine dancing on the ground outside. Trying to study while trying not to think about that new show on Netflix or the laundry that needs done or the stuff that needs packed up. That familiar smell of sweat and desperation hangs in the air like a dense fog.

How poetic. Anyway, I had a wonderful semester!

Last night was the Landscape Architecture Student Society (LASS) banquet which was fun! Plus we got to eat fancy food which you never want to pass up as a college student. Here are my lovely friends walking back from the banquet:

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Today I cleaned out my desk in studio which was kind of sad. But, of course I’m keeping most of my projects from the year because I am a nostalgic hoarder. (sorry Mom).  haha.

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College, Round Two

Hi internet! Happy various holidays, including (but not limited to) Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwanza, and New Years! I am back and classes start on Monday. So there’s that.

How was my break you ask? Let’s see… IT WAS WONDERFUL!

It’s great to not have anything to do for three weeks. Although, I also realized that I had no idea what to do. For the first few days, I basically wandered around my house, watched Netflix, and ate. Then my mom said something along the lines of, “You know I love having you around all the time but I think you should really go to gymnastics practice.” Gee thanks, mom. So I went to practice a decent amount and I enjoyed it quite a bit. (Shout out to my awesome teammates and coaches for putting up with me over break! I miss you all so very much! 🙂 ) Nothing all that eventful happened otherwise. It was nice just to be home (Shout out to the fam!)

And now here I am. Back in my dorm room, enjoying my last, fleeting moments of freedom.

Not much else to say, but please enjoy this pun that I made up today:

When asked if lettuce wanted a body, it said, “I’ll just romaine a head”!

 

Also, this pun that I made up during the soils final:

What does an introvert soils scientist say?

Leave me a-loam (loam is like a kind/texture of soil)

 

What I Learn In Plant Biology: I Have Been Lied to My Whole Life

ATTENTION! I am taking a break in your irregularly scheduled programming to bring you this urgent news:

So we’re finishing up our unit on plant structures and their functions (like leaves, roots, that sort of thing)

Here is what I have learned:

First of all, who ever told you that ginger is a root, is tragically misinformed. In fact, ginger is a stem. I’m not even kidding. Ginger is a “modified stem” called a rhizome that grows horizontally in the ground. I just blew your mind!

But wait! There’s more!

That whole debate over whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable? Well, according to my textbook (and my professor and probably the internet), a tomato is not only-botanically speaking-a fruit, it is a berry. What? Yes! It is true! A berry has a thin skin and usually contains many seeds and has a soft inside at maturity. And do you know what else is considered a berry? GRAPES! Boom.

And one last thing. While acorns are nuts, walnuts and pecans are not! I’m actually no sure why that is. Also peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts.

So anyway, enjoy the rest of your day, with this new information about food that will probably change your life forever.

If you are having a rough time digesting this information, you can fin the authors of this book and have a chat with them.

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