Archive | January 2014

Me, in a Setnence

Me, in a sentence. One sentence. That’s 15 to 20 words on average, according to “Readability Monitor,” a blog “keeping track of readable language.” Boiling yourself down to 25 to 33 syllables or 75 to 100 characters is no easy task, even for trained writers. Though journalists are trained to distill an entire story into a one-sentence lede, journalists are less often asked to write about their own lives, let alone condense their years into one sentence.

ImageAs a journalism student, I approached writing the life-encompassing sentence like I would approach writing a lede in a news story. I thought of my five Ws – who, what, when, where and why. And I hit a brick wall. The five W’s are great for writing a hard news lede, but a personal statement is a whole other beast. The “when” and the “where” are no help when the sentence applies to my whole life. Of course, the “who” was easy, but the “what” was just confusing.

Personal Statement 1 Eric 0

The only one of the five Ws that shed any light on my personal sentence was “why.” I thought of the “why” in my life as the “why” in a greater question: why am I the person I am? Luckily for me, I had spent time considering this question in drafting my personal statement for medical school. In that personal statement, I talked about how the health issues I overcame as an adolescent inspire me to help other hurtle their own obstacles in life. I explained how my service trips, travel abroad to Tanzania and volunteering at Omaha’s Children’s hospital are all aimed at motivating others to take charge of their health.

In a sentence: I motivate myself and others to realize our true potentials.

Personal Statement 1 Eric 1

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Taking a break from social network sites

Facebook is 1 billion members strong. Every second two new members join Linkedin. These and other statistics about social media inform viewers of a visually captivating video by Erik Qualman.

But Facebook lost a member last November when I stopped checking my profile, and I’ve never joined Linkedin. A lot people wonder why a 20 year-old journalism major and proud member of a fraternity would leave Facebook, the social hub of our world. How will he keep in touch with his high school friends from Phoenix when he goes to school in Omaha? What will he do without Facebook chat? How will he know breaking news? Will he ever hear of engagements and breakups and remember birthdays? He’ll make himself a pariah, they said.

However, I think I’ve become more social. Instead of scrolling through my newsfeed, I seek people out in person and ask them     for “statuses” on their lives. Instead of staring at screens and admiring other people’s good times in pictures, I go out and make my own memories that are only shared with the people who were present for those special moments. Besides, Facebook is too much of a micro-blog for my liking. Undoubtedly, we all have those friends who post about their entire lives, which is more than anyone wants to know.

Nonetheless, social media is not all that bad. Facebook and Twitter have been influential in organizing social and political change in the Middle East. (Egyptian babies have been named Facebook and Twitter.) Social networking sites have also helped spread warnings about impending natural disasters. And, of course, social media does what it does best and keeps people connected whether they are near or far away from each other.

Social media has its strengths and weakness. Right now, I recognize more of its weaknesses. However, I am excited for my Social Media class this semester. There is no contesting that all trends for social media are upward. Social media will be important for any career in the future because all careers involve communication in some form or another. I am especially interested to learn how to draft a social media plan for a business because one day I hope to have a medical practice.