The Importance Of Extracurricular Activities In A Student’s Development Essay Example

The numerous extracurricular activities that I have participated in throughout my High School and College careers have all impacted me in a variety of ways that have created the person I am today. Although the activities vary from piano practice, to an internship at a professional physics lab, to volunteering at a camp for adults with developmental disabilities, they have all impacted me indelibly in ways that even now I don’t fully realize.

The first experience I will discuss is my internship at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. While working at APL, I used a program called STK(Satellite Took Kit) to calculate how long a satellite would remain in the atmosphere depending on variables such as the mass of the satellite, its orbiting speed, and its altitude relative to earth’s surface.

Once acquiring the information, I would put it all into an excel spreadsheet to list the data as well as showing graphs to showcase how the satellite lifetime would vary depending on the independent variable in the graph. However, the internship taught me more than how to use Microsoft Excel and STK. It showed me what working in a professional environment was like. I had to coordinate with other workers in the same department in order to exchange information and solve problems. It taught me quickly how to communicate efficiently yet politely in emails in order to get the job done the best way possible. The experience I received during the APL internship has been imperative in my communication skills for mentorships and job opportunities.

During the summers of the past few years, I have volunteered at a summer camp for adults with developmental disabilities. This camp is called Camp GLOW. At Camp GLOW, which goes for a few weeks out of the summer, I “adult sit” the campers. I am responsible to make sure that the campers assigned to me receive any medications they need, are fed the right diet, that any mess they make be cleaned up, and of course, that they have a good time on their vacation. Primarily, being a companion at Camp GLOW has taught me patience. The campers are basically kids on the inside, and adults on the outside. They do all the thoughtless things that young children do (to varying degrees) but I can never let myself become exasperated or angry with them. I treat all the campers with love and respect and it shows in the relationships that I keep with them even in the years after they have been assigned to me.

Throughout my life, I have played the piano. I took lessons for 10+ years and partook in a number of competitions and exhibitions. This has taught me how to present in front of groups. Taking part in competitions and auditions taught me stage presence and how useful a skill it is. While most students dread the presentation parts of classes, I don’t mind them (I dare say that I actually enjoy presenting what I know to the class)!

Piano has also taught me another key lesson: knowing that some skills are developed over a very long time. This is a lesson that applies to far more than just piano and certainly applies to programming and working with computers. I realize that I have barely touched the surface of programming (even though I’d call myself proficient) whenever I talk to someone who has been in the field for 20 or more years. I mention a problem I’m having with some program and they generally recognize it immediately by pulling from their vast reservoirs of experience with programming. I know that my skills with programming and computers will progress with time, but pursuing them through UMBC will certainly speed the process.

The combination of all these experiences – which were all outside the classroom-, has impacted me far more profoundly than my education over the years. Although what I’ve learned has certainly given me an idea of where I am and where I can go, it is my experiences that define who I am and where I hope to go.

Craving For Acknowledgement In Understanding Integration, White Privilege And Learning To Read

Acknowledgement, to some it may mean nothing, but to others it may mean the world to a lot of people. Being acknowledged means so much to people because it shows them that people are actually listening to their ideas. Being acknowledged is a very important thing to experience, but yet there are some people in our past and present that deserve to be acknowledged. The articles, Understanding Integration, White Privilege, and Learning to Read, (by Gerald Early, Peggy McIntosh, and Malcolm X, respectively) are connected in that they talk about how different people have reacted in the situations and how they were acknowledged or not acknowledged. Acknowledgement is the one thing that all human beings crave.

Acknowledging differences between people can be a good thing and a bad thing. It can be good when you are acknowledging the differences in your religion or the persons ethnicity. I think that it can be bad when you are pointing out differences in their appearance, by this I mean like skin color or facial features. In the article Understanding Integration by Gerald Early, Gerald talks about how it is important to know the differences in human beings because it will help other human beings to acknowledge and become informed of the differences. And maybe this will make them have a different point of view on their backgrounds and want to become better friends with them enabling them to learn even more about them, and maybe find similarities in there differences. In doing this maybe in the end it will Not a victory of white over black or white over black, but rather it was black and white lying down side by side as equals(57).

Acknowledgement may be important but in some cases acknowledging differences in people is wrong. Like when you are using it to have an advantage because you are of another race. White privilege is a term where the definition is in the word; it is when a white person is given special treatment due to the color of their skin. This is the one case where I think that it is important where we should not acknowledge these differences in human beings because it is causing a lot of major problems and it could be solved if people could just see through the differences on the outside of other human beings. In the article White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh Peggy talks about how whites have had things easier than people of other races and Whites are taught not to recognize white privilege, as much as males are taught not to recognize male privileges. This quote I feel was true a while a go but know I think that people do recognize that we as whites did have it easier than blacks. But even though we have changed Many doors have been opened for certain people through no virtues of their own(121).

In the article Learning to Read by Malcolm X it talks about Malcolms life and how going to prison was actually the most important thing in his life. It changed his life from being a street hustler to a Black Muslim priest. I think that it really important to acknowledge that an African American hustler went into prison a drug using thief and came out a well educated Muslim. And in a country that was the sight of the worlds most shameful case of minority oppression (178). That later became a very important man in the history of segregation and was involved in speaking out against black oppression. And I think that he is well deserving of acknowledgement for the way in which that turned his life around.

All of these articles show that acknowledgement can be very important to be shown in some cases and in some it is imperative that it is not shown. In all of the articles there are different situations that an African American has been put into and it has shown that have prevailed in any way possible. And shown that acknowledgement, to some it may mean nothing, but to others it may mean the world to. Once again I go back to the quote from Understanding Integration in which it states The end of history was not a victory of white over black or white over black, but rather it was black and white lying down side by side as equals (Gerald Early 57). I hope that this quote holds to truth and that differences that cause problems can be put aside and we can do what that saying tells us to do and just get along.

White Privilege According To Jeremy Dowsett

In “What My Bike Has Taught Me about White Privilege”, Jeremy Dowsett argues. That “white privilege” is not about questioning the morality of whites. But it’s about a “systematic imbalance” created by unintentional racism. And a misunderstanding of what “white privilege” means. He uses his own personal experiences of being a biker in a non-bike friendly town. To convey to his audience that white privilege has arisen because of historic racism. And he uses examples such as an unknowing semi driver that “rushes past throwing gravel in my face” (Dowsett 987), and regular drivers that “fly by just inches from me” (Dowsett 986), to push the point that white privilege is more about showing that “the system is not neutral” (Dowsett 987).

To support his claim of a “systematic imbalance” Dowsett explains that. If a biker gets into a crash with a car, the effects of the accident would be much worse for the biker, than the driver. This is a relatively new problem, because bike lanes are also a relatively new idea, just being created around a “car-centric” society. To clarify his idea that “white privilege is not about questioning the morality of whites, Dowsett goes on to say that he doesn’t want this to come off as if he is saying “if you are white, you’re a bad person’, he just wants people to realize that “… being mindful of me is a privilege he has that I don’t” (Dowsett 987), accentuating how bikers have to be hyper aware of their surroundings, unlike cars. This view of car drivers being disrespectful to bike drivers, whether purposefully or not, leads Dowsett to remind those people who misunderstand “white privilege” that “a person of color might be experiencing you, the way a person on a bike experiences being passed by a semi…” (Dowsett 988). That finishing statement is to clarify the idea that though you may not purposefully be acting out of white privilege. People should step to the side to analyze their actions before doing them, even if they were not done to harm another, or with racist intent.

As stated earlier, Dowsett’s purpose in writing this is to educate those. Who do not understand “white privilege”, through a bike riding analogy that may make sense to them. Dowsett wants to explain that “white privilege” is perhaps a phrase that gets a negative connotation because it may sound like he is saying “You are a racist and there’s nothing you can do about it because you were born that way” (Dowsett 984), but he wants to work off the idea that it is all based on a misunderstanding of privilege, not an inherent hate towards a race. Using personal experiences from the road, as a biker, he is able to get his purpose across, and portray people who drive cars as privileged due to the way “The system is skewed in ways that maybe you haven’t realized or had to think about precisely because its skewed in your favor” (Dowsett 985).

In relation to his focus of purpose in the essay, the audience plays a big role in how he approaches the way he defines that purpose. When writing, he is obviously addressing whites who do not have an understanding of “white privilege”, which is why he uses examples with cars, because cars are a privilege that most white people living in urban areas have access to, and he needed to find something to create an analogy that would be understood by most people. Dowsett really tries to speak on the side of caution and intelligent examples to back up his claims, because many people can get uncomfortable with the argument, because “nobody wants to be a racist” (Dowsett 984). But, due to the fact that he is speaking to whites that are misunderstanding their privilege, he needs to make bold claims with strong examples to back himself up, making for a good essay that really does point out the discrepancies in our society, and makes a strong argument about “white privilege”.

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