A Farewell to katieaplang

In regards to my last post, I must also say cheers in honor of my final post on this blog. Obviously I’m going to continue writing through the summer because it is something I love to do, but I won’t be writing on deadline trying to achieve points on a rubric, I’ll be writing for myself.
I have 20 followers on this. I’m pretty sure at least 15 attend school with me so they won’t be surprised that I’m outta here. To the other 5 of you: I’m sorry you’ll be without my ranting three times per week but it’s all going to be okay.

Thank you to everyone who ever sat through reading one of my posts. I know most of them were unbearable!

Most of all, thanks to any of my friends who kept me from jumping off a bridge because blogging.

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A Farewell to Junior Year

The last week of my junior year begins today and I cannot decide if I’m happy, sad, or if everything is just a little bittersweet. My junior year had great moments: homecoming, show choir competitions, bonfires, movies, hundreds of episodes of grey’s anatomy, my first 4.0, a successful track season, a new group of best friends… and it had bad ones: holding back tears during math tests, fights with people who used to mean the world to me, realizing that people change and become people you don’t want to be around… But they were all lessons. Each thing that happened to me this year was a lesson, whether a positive one or not so much. I had a lot to learn coming into this year but I’ve become a better, smarter and stronger person.

And here’s to summer. My senior summer. One where I have the freedom of my own car, a later curfew, my own income, and a great group of friends. This summer I will clear the air with anyone I can, because it’s the last one before I never see half of these people again. It’s my last full summer to attend camp with my cheer team, and my last summer at choreography camp for choir, and my last summer to be wild without stressing over a whole new life coming at me.

So I’m going to do everything in my power to make this summer perfect, and my senior year fantastic. I’m going to clear up problems with ex-friends, I’m going to attend all of the outings my friends invite me to, and I’m going to cease every minute.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and I know this summer will be over before I know it… So here’s to the summer of 2016.

 

Dedication

Dedication

“Success is about dedication. You may not be where you want to be or do what you want to do when you’re on the journey. But you’ve got to be willing to have vision and foresight that leads you to an incredible end.” -Usher

This weekend, I went to a track meet at the University of Iowa: the only home meet of the year. I got to watch some of the country’s best athletes in their events, running at D1 schools and setting records. What stood out to me most was the senior recognition and the dedication of the athletes, who also had to find time to be smart and finish their schoolwork.

For senior recognition, the graduating students walked when their name was said to receive a jersey and framed photo and flower; but what really struck me was when their majors were read. These majors all varied in difficulty, but I was really astounded because they all finished. They all had a busy schedule balancing athletics and academics, becoming better athletes while becoming teachers and engineers and nurses, but they all came down the front stretch. (Haha track puns). Their parents walked with them, and I guarantee they were overwhelmed with pride in their sons and daughters.

The dedication of student athletes is crazy and the effort it takes to balance a sport while carrying your school life is unbelievable, at big and small schools alike. I give true props to all college athletes who are working their way through it, and I aspire to be you someday.

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

Quote source: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/u/usher602763.html?src=t_dedication

Keep up with Iowa sports here: www.hawkeyesports.com/

Pros and Cons of Missoula

Read It Here

While researching my book, I came across this article where Jon Krakauer defends his book Missoula. Despite the popularity of the book, I think there are some serious pros and cons to it.

Positives

  • The book focuses well on the victim. He covers the stories of the victims and their exact testimonies.
  • The book is popularizing and spreading the word on an important topic.
  • The book’s setting is in a small town in Montana, which shows readers that it can happen anywhere.
  • The book is detailed with facts of the book and situations. He did his research.
  • The book is well written. The stories flow well.
  • The book gives lots of different victim’s perspectives. It’s not just one person’s story.
  • The list of names and their character descriptions in the back is really helpful to keep track of everyone.

Negatives

  • Women have written about this topic for a long time and Krakauer is making the money off of it.
  • In my opinion, the victims’ characters are not very well developed. Instead of focusing on the victims as people, he focuses on their rape, their legal case, and what follows. I understand that that’s the focus of the book, but the women should be depicted as human beings rather than just rape victims.
  • Sometimes the book is hard to follow. I’ve pulled out my highlighter and made sure to mark when a new character comes into play so I can remember who everyone is and reference their description.
  • Some people in the book are portrayed in a biased way. Some of the people who opposed the victim in court were mandated, and they don’t need to be portrayed as Satan.
  • So far, there’s not a lot of follow through on what happens to any of the alleged perpetrators or their victims. This could come later, but some of the stories from early in the book still haven’t been “cleared up” in my opinion.

Overall, it’s a good book with a good message and important information. Everyone’s a critic.

 

The Real Life Stories

The Real Life Stories

Like I referenced in my blog post last week, I am currently reading Missoula by Jon Krakauer. This is not only a book about rape on college campuses, but a book that covers the stories of the victims.

Many of the women who tell their stories in this book use pseudonyms to cover their identity, for their safety. However, some do not keep their names secret. This allows readers to do research on the people and their rape cases.

For example, the story of Cecilia Washburn (this is a pseudonym) and Jordan Johnson (this is not). Washburn and Johnson were not in a relationship, and had intended to just watch a movie together one night. They began to make out and touch, which was consensual. She removed his shirt, which was consensual, and she removed hers. However, once Johnson began to try and remove Washburn’s pants,  she denied consent by repeating the phrase “no, not today.” Johnson allegedly began to rape Washburn by holding his arm against her chest and using force despite her refusal. The testimony asked why she didn’t yell for help, and she replied “I just shut down.” She left the room after the ordeal and sent a text message to her roommate saying “I think I might have just gotten raped.” She reported to the hospital where she received a rape kit to find vaginal trauma. Jordan Johnson was found guilty of rape by some juries, and innocent by others. After being expelled from the university, he was restored as star quarterback and student by the athletic association.

Another example is Allison Huguet’s, which may be the only story with a positive ending in the entire book at the rate we’re going. Huguet was allegedly sexually assaulted by childhood friend, Beau Donaldson. They’d known each other since they were 5, and considered each other brother and sister. Huguet was in college out of state when she came home, and her friend urged her to attend a party with many of her childhood friends. She agreed, and got drunk with all of her friends. When she tried to leave, her friends urged her to stay and sleep at the party house. She decided to accept the invitation to avoid driving drunk and fell asleep alone on the couch. Huguet woke up to Donaldson having sex with her from behind. She stayed still and pretended to sleep in fear that Donaldson would be violent if she moved, and grabbed her things and ran after her rapist left the room. Donaldson then chased her down the alleyway before turning around when Huguet was picked up by her mother. Huguet received a rape kit at the local hospital, where she was covered in bruises and had tissue breaks and torn lining in her vagina. After many trials, Donaldson was convicted of rape and is sentenced to 30 years. He will be eligible for parole in 2 and a half years.

As you can see, these stories may end well for the victim or may end in a way where they feel ignored or denied justice. Huguet’s is one of the only stories where she had “substantial evidence”, therefore her testimony wasn’t swept under the rug. The one thing you really have to keep in mind while reading this book, and even this blog post, is that these are the stories of real people on both ends.

 

 

Please Don’t Tell Me What I Should Feel

Every single day, in some form of media or politics or law, there are people debating topics that most definitely need to be debated: women’s rights, race inequality, sexual assault, and more. However, the state of these issues must come from the right voice to be accurate.

Men and women may be moving closer to equality, as are all races, but we have not reached it. Anyone who says we have is not a woman or a person of color, or hasn’t truly opened their eyes. There is a long path to equality ahead.

The issue is that the people speaking out on these issues are not the people suffering the consequences of them. Men speaking on abortion and job equality, white people speaking on racism… this is not their conversation.

I completely believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion on all of these issues. Of course men can have opinions towards women’s rights/lifestyles and white people can have opinions on racism. However, when a male speaks to a large population saying that “sexism isn’t prominent anymore”, I begin to feel slightly hurt because they do not experience life the way I do, and it is not their place to decide when sexism is gone. And I know that sexism has faded, that I am “lucky to be able to leave the kitchen” or whatever other derogatory rebuttal they have. I understand that things have improved. But what I do not understand is why I still get talked down to because I am a girl, or why I feel that I cannot be as smart as a boy sometimes. It is still a piece of our culture, and as I understand it is a much smaller part, it still exists. Men who speak on the subject of sexism typically say it does not exist because they do not see it. They don’t experience much of it so it is essentially gone. Of course, they’re entitled to that opinion, but the realistic view is the female one.

This goes the same with people of color. I am not racist and I do not experience racism on a regular basis, but I’m white so really I don’t get to say whether or not racism is prevalent anymore. This is the place for someone of color to speak, to explain their daily life and racism’s presence in it.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but speaking out on the life of somebody else is mildly inappropriate. Remember that you do not know the experiences of others, and to step into the shoes of another person before you tell them what they should feel.

A New School Transfer Policy

A New School Transfer Policy

Switching schools because of bullying issues is a serious ordeal and should be treated like one.

As of right now, students in Iowa can transfer schools due to bullying but cannot play sports for the first 90 days of enrollment in their new school. The 90-day waiting period policy prevents students from carelessly transferring schools and prevents athletic recruitment at public schools, but also can add more pressure to bullied students looking for a new environment. This policy is essentially a punishment to the bullied student, who then has to be out of sports after moving schools despite the fact that the bullying was not their fault.

There is currently a bill being looked at that could change the whole school-transfer game. This bill would waive students who transferred due to bullying from the 90-day athletics waiting period. Transfer students for reasons besides bullying would still follow the 90-day policy.

This could go really well, or really badly.

The question presented with this bill is whether or not people will be good people about it. Bullying is a real problem and many students suffer through it each day. There are many kids who may be bullied, but choose to stay at their school to participate in their sport. A new school would be much safer for them and a much more beneficial learning environment, and they’d be more willing to make that commitment if they could persevere athletically at their new school.

However, there is also the possibility that coaches will use this to lure athletes to their school. Offers are already thrown around, guaranteeing students varsity spots if they transfer schools, and it’s totally possible that coaches will tell students to file a bullying report in order to get that ever-so-desirable spot on varsity.

Ultimately, the outcome is up to the coaches. They can help the kids who genuinely need to get out of a bad learning environment, or they can take advantage of a bill that’ll help them recruit for high school sports. Will Iowa’s coaches really risk the loss of a bill that helps suffering students in order to get that star football player?