Weekly Journal Update 9

Sorry this is so much shorter than usual. This week has been the definition of the struggle! I apologize in advance for the quiz I am about to bomb.

Thursday, March 10th, 11:10 AM to 12:30 PM

I was not able to attend this class because I was in Haiti. Sadly, I was not able to get the notes from that class period before writing this journal. My classmates weren’t looking to help me out.

Monday, March 21st, 11:00 AM to 2:25 PM.

In the article we read, the author is discussing solitude and leadership at West Point. He says that solitude is a very necessary piece of leadership. It gives you the opportunity to think for yourself and find who you are. This will allow a leader to assert themselves in that leadership position. He notes how difficult it is for the soldiers to be alone and find that solitude. But it is necessary because it will change who they will be as the world’s future leaders. He stressed that we don’t need leaders who just keep the ball rolling, not advancing the society in question in any way.

We were asked what challenges we face in thinking for ourselves. I believe that, like the author of the article said, social media makes it really hard to have your own opinion. Not only are you bombarded with everybody else’s opinions, you have to deal with people who denounce your own opinion because they do not find value in it. This may push some people to not want to promote their own opinion and stick to what the majority of those around them believe. I believe it is also hard to think for myself because I don’t spend much of my alone time actively trying to think in depth about topics that are important to me or that I should have my own opinion about. It is also hard to think for myself because of the books I read. When I read a book, I have a problem with thinking critically while I read it. I don’t really engage with the text like I should. When I was in high school, I stopped speaking out in debates in class because my opinions were so different than those of my peers. I knew if I spoke out, I’d only he attacked, and I didn’t believe it would be worth it. I think that has affected my hesitance to speak on my own opinion today. I was also ridiculed for the color of my skin which was connected to the stereotype of black oriole being ignorant. At one point, it forced me to think that my opinion really didn’t matter and wasn’t worthy of pursuing and developing further.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 11:10 AM to 12:30 PM

We were told our next exam will be Tuesday.

We began class with a discussion about Jeffrey’s goal of being a teacher one day which was meant to spark our minds on our own futures. Dr. Sandridge pushed and prodded Jeffrey to think fully and completely about what he would be getting himself into working as a teacher. Dr. Sandridge asked him about his expected pay after graduation which was in the range of about $50,000. Jeffrey said that he initially wanted more coming out of college, but if he didn’t get that higher amount, he’d be fine because he would be in it to change lives and celebrate that change when he recognized it years later like Dr. Sandridge does when he sees his old students and the things they have accomplished in life.

We were asked how we are going to fix the problems that we want to fix?

This question brought me back to my time in Haiti. Haiti’s most urgent problem in my mind is how to clean up the mountains of trash. In order to accomplish this, there also needs to be a solution to where and how this trash will be disposed of. Haitian civilians as well as officials are an integral piece in making this dream a reality. This effort needs to continue far after the initial cleanup effort.

In order to help the Haitians, I will need to be in a major leadership position so I will be able to have significant influence in America as I try to gain support for this project as well as in Haiti so I can get the Haitians on board with this project.

Another project I would like to initiate in my lifetime has actually already been started on a small scale all across the country but have not spread to the extent that I hope to achieve in my lifetime. I want to begin this project by opening my own non-profit to assist middle and high school level minorities with tutoring, mock interviews for jobs or internships, access to scholarships and internships, assistance filling out those scholarships especially essay writing, and providing mentors that work in the field the student is interested in. I am planning on getting a MA in Business so I will be able to start this nonprofit. I will have to work extremely hard to spread the word and acquire the necessary finances to fund this project.

Over spring break, Dr. Sandridge put the majority of our grades on Blackboard.

We discussed our first exam.

We discussed the problems Alcibiades had with reconciling his interests with those of his peers when he chose to make Nicias look like a fool by going behind his back to change the minds of the Spartans. This inability to reconcile for the greater good was compared to the current struggle between President Obama and the Senate over the vacant Supreme Court Justice seat. The Senate vowed to reject any nomination by the president which is strictly being done out of spite. There have been multiple justices appointed in election years, so that argument is extremely weak.

We made a distinction between instrumental and reactive aggression. With instrumental aggression, it is a means to an end. Reactive aggression is acted out as a result of extreme emotion.

We listed a few psychopathic traits exhibited by Alcibiades in this scene which included pathological lying.

We continued by touching on the importance of solitude and crafting who you are which is the main point in the article we read for Tuesday’s class.

We continued with our discussion of our first exam by talking about the scene between Hillary and Bill when she inquired whether she should run for president or not.

Is PTSD a result of being unable to dehumanize? Yes, it is, and that is not such a bad thing. Dr. Sandridge made the statement that he would rather get PTSD than be able to dehumanize people. I agree completely.

We ended class by discussing the Trolley Switch/Footbridge questions and summarized them quickly which is something we’ve done multiple times in the past.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 8:00 AM to 12:45 PM; 2:15 PM to 4:35 PM.

I began studying for my exam on Tuesday by using the method Dr. Sandridge told us about before the last exam. I made headings of the main topics we’ve discussed and placed them on their own separate pages. I then proceeded to make a web by connecting as many ideas that were discussed in class that I could remember. One of the main headings I branched off of surrounded Socrates as a philosophical leader. I branched off into Xenophon’s and Plato’s versions of Socrates and how they differed from one another. I also made a branch for the similarities and differences between Alcibiades and Socrates.

I then made a heading for Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor. I did not know much about him besides the name of his book, Meditations. This made me realize I really needed to take the time to re-read what we read on him as well as to go back through the notes taken on him which is exactly what I did after this realization came to me.

I still have plenty of work to do to prepare for our next exam. I will be preparing by pretending like I am taking an exam in the format of our first exam and going through those four step such as listing the problems of leadership addressed in the selected passage.

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