Introductory Reflective Essay
During middle school, I was surely on the way to becoming a true athlete and I certainly had the placebo effect personally affect me. In middle school, I played football every day after school. Practice began at four and my energy from my lunch, which was at noon, was practically gone. During the beginning of practices, I could push through the tiredness but as time went on I started to feel drained during the drills. Casually, I mentioned to my friends that I was tired and they suggested to bring Gatorade instead of water to drink. They explained it as providing you energy and keeping you going. More importantly, they said “The athletes in the NFL drink it during their games.” Without a doubt I was convinced, and the next day I was gulping down Gatorade. The first day I drank it at practice I played as if I was a star in the Super Bowl. As time went by, I realized that it wasn’t Gatorade that gave me the extra push to finish practice, it was my mind that had motivated me the entire time. Although Gatorade probably did elevate my sugar levels and helped to some extent, it definitely wasn’t the complete reason I had begun to play so outstanding. The placebo effect had personally affected me when I was a kid and it also plays other roles in people’s everyday lives.
In my beginning essay, I chose to focus solely on the aspect of perspective in Zadie Smith’s “Two Men Arrive in a Village.” Through the course of Smith’s short story, she introduces us to the term “depends.” Throughout the story she uses the word very strategically, creating emphasis for its true power. Smith uses the word to show a need for perspective when writing a piece of work. She introduces the two men in the story by situation. She begins by telling about how they approach the village and what the wield. When doing this she explains how the way the men approach and what the carry could be different depending on circumstances. Smith also explains how the men could be perceived differently based on the perspective of view. One person in the village may view the men as savages, where another may see them as desperate. By the end of the story, the audience is exposed to this element of perspective. For, Smith reveals multiple different opinions of the two men from multiple different characters. Exploring this has shown that one story or event can become multiples when exposed to multiple perspectives and Zadie Smith does a great job exploiting that.
In my second essay, I explored through the career of Kobe Bryant. While there are thousands of biographies on Kobe Bryant, I chose to narrow down my focus a bit more than Kobe as a basketball icon. I chose to focus on the legacy of Kobe’s family name, Bryant. Bryant comes from Celtic origin meaning nobility, loyalty, and strength. Throughout the essay I travel through many points in Kobe Bryant’s career where he exemplified these traits. Focusing on the point of him possessing these traits and showing how these characteristics got him through adversity and made him the Bryant that he is today. Though I wrote about the legacy of Kobe’s name, there is one particular moment that I wrote about that relates to the overall theme about perspective. In Kobe’s final game at the Staples Center Arena he put on a fantastic show for the sold out crowd. Kobe ended the game shooting 22–50 from the field accounting for 60 points. Initially this sounds like another amazing performance by one of the greatest of all time, but that depends on the viewer. Since that game, many have criticized the performance by Bryant as “inefficient” and “horrible.” This shows how even in the game of basketball the importance of perspective can change the way things appear to unfold.
In my concluding essay, my goal was to show how things that influence us, like placebos, can also be affected by perspective. This essay was written about how the placebo effect shapes and influences people in all walks of life. Throughout the essay I explore different areas of life that placebos play and influential role in. When writing this essay, I found out that the results gathered from an administered placebo is determined by personal perspective and expectation. When people are exposed to a placebo, they have no idea that a placebo is what they are being administered. The reaction to the placebo is a direct representation of the perspective from which the placebo is given to. If a patient has negative expectations, then his perspective is negative and the given placebo will most likely not work in his favor. The same results will ensue for a patient with positive expectations and a positive perspective.
Throughout the course of the semester I have been challenged to take broad ideas and themes and see into them “beneath the surface.” I have taken articles, short stories, movies and other sources and explored into them to extract a deeper meaning of what is publicly seen as a broad topic. I wanted to challenge myself by creating three pieces of work that, to the common man, wouldn’t relate. My challenge was to take three topics and create three essays that did not seem to correlate and make them connect by a single common theme. That theme is the significance in perspective. With my three essays I have shown how three very different things can be tied together through a common theme. This challenge has taught me a lot. Not only about how to narrow broad topics down, but also how to take things that wouldn’t commonly correlate and make them compare and have similarities towards a common theme by exploring deeper into topics that are commonly untouched. This journey has bettered me as a researcher, as a writer, and as a student. I intend on taking these tools I have learned in implementing them into my future studies.