Voz

Disfruto suricatas hornear cada miércoles por la tarde. Mi compañero de cuarto tiene olor a queso y tiene una fractura en la espalda en el Verano. Mi única aspiraciones en la vida es ser dueño de un par de binoculares y tocar el violín más pequeño del mundo.

For those of you who do not speak Spanish, it may be beneficial for you to know that I just said “I enjoy baking meerkats every Wednesday afternoon”, “My roommate smells of cheese and has a broken back in the summer” and “My only aspirations in life are to own a pair of binoculars and play the world’s smallest violin.”

To me, “voice” is not only the sound that comes out of a person’s mouth, but the meaning of the words that are being spoken. Language is a huge part of the ways in which we communicate. There are around 6,500 different languages spoken around the world and this contributes to the diversity of each culture. The meaning of the words that come out of your mouth are the most important thing about voice in my opinion. Without meaning, words are just sounds that are basically insignificant. If you don’t speak Spanish and tried reading that first part aloud or in your head, it probably sounded pretty awesome; however, its true meaning was pure nonsense. If you do speak Spanish and tried reading that, i’m sorry. Voice is the meaning of the words and sounds that we use to express ourselves. Words may sound completely different from certain places around the world, but it is the meaning that truly matters.

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3 Ways to Get Over Stage Fright

It would be completely false to claim that you have absolutely no worries presenting in front of an audience. I truly believe that everyone has some amount of stage fright. It can range from just getting a little nervous to a complete nervous breakdown, but in the end, you need to realize that public speaking in any setting is always a little nerve racking. Here are some tips to help you deal with the issue of stage fright and freaking out about presenting in front of an audience:

1. Take deep breaths. Breathe. Stretch. Feel the oxygen moving through your veins. Relax your body physically before presenting. This will stop the shaking, nervous tapping, sweaty hands and ultimately help to ease the presentation jitters. If your body is at peace, so will your mind.

2. Picture in your head how you want the presentation to go. By “seeing” it go smoothly and imagining yourself being successful will actually make you feel more comfortable while you are actually presenting. Just like my track coaches always told me, “If you envision yourself getting gold, it’s already yours.”

3. Remember to reward yourself. Cut yourself some slack and go get some Chipotle after your day of stress and worrying. I promise you, this will feel so good and it is obviously well deserved.

Ted Talks: Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda’s talk about the dangers of a single story really touched me. Stereotypes are natural. This is made clear in her talk because she shares her personal confession with having a misconception about someone because she only knew one side of the story. She tells a story about how, in Nigeria, her family hired a poor boy to help around the house and such. As a little girl, she developed a single story of who the boy was because all she knew about him was that he was poor.

Then, she talks about how her American college roommate had a certain predisposition to think that she was an african girl with a tough life who grew up in the poor villages of Nigeria because that was the only thing she knew about the country/Africa as a whole. 

This parallel was extremely interesting to me because I have never really sat down and thought about why stereotypes exist. Chimamanda Adichie’s explanation of the “single story” made it clear to me why we develop such stereotypes about people. My understanding of “single story” is that it is a singular view that reflects something true, or false, of an individual’s culture that is used to explain their behavior and this leads to misconceptions about a person. Usually, people attribute what they think about a culture as a whole to a particular individual and this helps us label them socially. This can be applied to my life because people assume I eat Chinese food all the time; meanwhile, I hate Chinese food and basically all other Asian foods. My favorite example is when people ask me if I’ve eaten all these exotic animals that Asians have a reputation for eating, (i.e. dogs, cats, sharks, scorpions, etc.) and I get to tell them I’ve actually been a vegetarian for 9 years. I personally do not get offended when people assume things about me since I’m Asian because, like Chimamanda Adichie, I only know the single story of other cultures and I realize it is just being human.

Emotions Through Music

When I listen to music, it is almost always to put me in a better mood or it reflects the mood I am in at that moment. Music really is the only thing that can make me feel better when I’m going through hard times. It is in a song’s lyrics where I find an emotional release and peace within my mind. I find music to be very soothing and therapeutic to a damaged or stressed emotional state. It helps because you can either just listen and understand, or you can listen and relate. Sometimes it’s nice to listen to a song, identify with the lyrics and know that you are not going through those feelings alone. Whether you are going through a break up, stressing out about finals, or getting over a traumatic situation, music is always there to help.

Music can also help put me in a mentally happy state like while I am at the gym, casually hanging out with friends, driving in my car, or at a party. Music really just sets the mood in whatever situation i’m in on a daily (if not hourly) basis. This is a tad peculiar so forgive me but my favorite part of the day that I LIVE FOR is blasting Beyoncé when I am fresh out of the shower getting ready. She’s obviously a queen and sometimes it’s nice to feel like one too!

Fine Line

I believe there is a fine line between persuasion and inspiration. Being that the two are in fact distinguishable, this indicates that both exist. My definition of persuasion is a deliberate action of getting others to change their previous opinions, beliefs, and values into new ones that reflect the opinions, beliefs, and values of the person doing the persuading. These “persuasions” can either have a negative or positive effect on the person. I define  inspiration, on the other hand, as a deliberate or unintentional way of enforcing and encouraging the change of opinions, beliefs, and values and is almost always beneficial to both sides: the inspirer and the inspired. 

Both inspiration and persuasion exists all around us. Trying to describe this in the most positive aspect possible, the cultures and norms of different societies around the world would be nonexistent without persuasion and inspiration. People everywhere are persuaded to dress and act a certain way to “fit in” with the crowd. Conformity is a natural human response to the effects of persuasion. People are inspired on a different level though. The great geniuses of all time like Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, and Beyonce had to have gotten their inspiration from someone, somewhere or something. Without these “triggers” they would not have created the art and been able to share their intelligence that they have today.