Traveling Through Life

Throughout my life, I have had opportunities and have gained knowledge that I had never dreamed of encountering when I was younger. These experiences have shaped who I am today and who I want to be in the future in every possible way. If I could only backpack with the knowledge and wisdom from these few things, then the pictures in my backpack would fill the entire space. The first picture shows my four siblings and I this past Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house back home. My family has always been my driving force to be who I am today. My parents have pushed me to be the best I can be from a young age in all my endeavors from sports to school, and my siblings provide me with someone to provide a role model for. The second picture shows my amazing friend group here at LSU. Being from 16 hours away and knowing no one when I decided to come here, I was always worried that I would have trouble finding friends and being included, but the people in this picture and many others proved me completely wrong. Even though after college I know we will all go our separate ways and that many of us may grow apart; I am still genuinely thankful to everyone that first befriended me here. The third picture is my love for animals. Animals have been my obsession since I was born, and they are one thing that I have never grown apart from in my life. My love for animals has presented me with knowledge from hundreds of encyclopedias I read when I was younger trying to learn about every species possible. This love for animals has also lead me to meet amazing people that have presented me with life changing experiences such as my internships at Crater Road Veterinary Hospital back home and Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck, North Carolina where I have spent many summer days. My fourth picture represents my overwhelming passion for working with birds. Growing up, I was surrounded by my dad’s hobby of raising exotic birds and it became the most important part of my lifestyle that will always be closest to my heart. Working with birds is what led to my dreams of becoming a veterinarian which is what I am now pursuing here at LSU. My final picture is my most recent hook that has had a bigger impact on my life in the last sixth months than I had ever dreamed it could. The gym has become my escape, my hobby, and an integral part of my every day routine. Going to the gym daily has allowed me to begin thinking positively about myself all the time while relieving the stress of school and personal problems all at the same time. The people I have met here provide unbelievable amounts of motivation and support that carry me through each workout and each day. My experiences and the improvements I have made in the gym are something that I will never change and I believe that it will continue to be an integral part of my life in the future.


My Essentials For The Journey


Concussion: A Hit in the Box Office, But Does It Hit The Facts?

Possibly one of the biggest cover-ups in history, the NFL’s abuse of the concussion issue in the sport of football, leaves one thinking that the corporation does not even think of its players as humans. Just imagine your brain bouncing off the walls of your skull repeatedly with each time another person plows into you, and you will be placing yourself in the mindset of a professional football player. The devastation from these repeated hits is never apparent at first, but the damage to the brain builds up over time producing a monster that can take a player’s life. The concussion issue has always been a point of concern, but its true seriousness was not brought into the spotlight until Dr. Bennett Omalu’s extensive studies on chronic traumatic encephalopathy revealed the true risks associated with the sport of football. Through a devoted fight, Omalu changed the way that millions of people and the NFL look at the sport of football that we all love so dearly. In the blockbuster film Concussion, Omalu’s journey is told with emotion and admiration. However, does the film accurately show the facts associated with the concussion issue or do its entertainment aspects diminish factual acuracy? Although the facts of the film are exaggerated, its producers are still able to present the importance of the issue of multiple concussions in football in a factual sense without giving in to the drive to change reality for entertainment purposes.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that is found in athletes that have a history of repetitive head trauma throughout their career. The entire journey of Dr. Omalu began in 2002 with the death of former Pittsburgh Steelers center, Mike Webster. Mike Webster was described as “never himself” after his career ended and during his autopsy Dr. Omalu made a discovery that waged war on the beloved NFL. The NFL as a money hungry, reputation driven corporation would not accept Omalu’s findings and evidence of CTE in Mike Webster’s brain, and the NFL did everything in their power to suppress Omalu’s efforts to tell the truth. Omalu’s drive and passion prevailed in the end, and the concussion issue reached the public eye placing the NFL under scrutiny and forcing reform to the policies and rules of gameplay in the league.

hard hit
The type of hit that can cause concussions in an NFL player.

Always Stay Humble and Kind

Both Henry David Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience” and Martin Luther King Jr. in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” use both similar and different appeals in order to build their case against racial injustice. The use of reason, emotion, and ethics can effect the readers perception of the author and the message that they are attempting to broadcast immensely. Thoreau uses analogies and ethical examples to paint his message with hints of logos and ethos. King focuses on his own ethics and is capable of creating a mutual respect with his readers just from the words that he puts on the paper. Thoreau attacks aggressively at times whereas King takes a more humble, soft spoken approach. King’s style of humble and kind is far more efficient at builder the stronger argument when compered to Thoreau’s case on racial injustice.

Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to the public about racial injustice


Satire as Effective Argument

Satire has been used as an effective argument tool throughout history to bring attention to nagging societal issues and topics of growing conflict. An important aspect of satire’s effectiveness is its ethical appeal. Ethical appeal is a persuasion technique that tends to pull people to more easily agree with the ideas stated due to the language and presentation of the opinion that the writer has published. In The Vertical Negro Plan by Henry Golden, the author takes the ethical appeal approach to presenting his argument; whereas, in Left Handers (Those Sickos) Got No Reason to Live by Roger Guffey the alternative approach of abrasive language and direct attacks turns the reader off to the argument.

In The Vertical Negro Plan, Golden starts his argument with a list of past amendments to the North Carolina Constitution passed in 1956 regarding the public school segregation issue swirling through society at this time in history. By presenting these facts right away, Golden proves himself to be a credible and knowledgeable author which thus inclines the reader to pay more attention to what he has to say. In the second paragraph, Golden begins the presentation of his own ideas with the statement “Permit me, therefore, to offer an idea for the consideration of the members of the regular sessions.” To the reader just simply saying “permit me” shows a respect for the higher authority that is more appealing than the direct attack of slanderous language spit out in Guffey’s publication. Golden’s strength of argument lies in his ability to present made up examples to back up his claims, but never once does he force his ideas on the reader. There is such a sarcastic, playful tone to this entire attack on segregation. It is far more appealing to a reader to read a humorous challenge that one must decode in order to understand rather than to read a direct assault of demeaning words and harsh criticism. While reading Guffey’s argument it is almost possible to imagine him yelling at the the page as he writes; this technique does not fit well for accomplishing an ethical appeal.

In order to appeal to the reader, the writer must show that he is knowledgeable, fair, and respectful to the conflicting view and the reader. Golden does this well through serious facts, humor, and irony. Guffey lacks in this department as his entire piece screams anger.

The Vertical Desk Plan: Against Segregation


Head to Head: Issues on Concussion

Concussion, released in 2015, was a blockbuster hit when it the theaters. This movie focuses on a growing issue that is causing buzzing debate over protocols in the sports world; specifically within the NFL. Concussion, tells the story of Dr. Bennett Omalu’s fight to bring to light the serious repercussions that professional football players face from repeated concussions over their career. The NFL has since doctored their protocol after initially brushing Omalu’s research aside, but the issue still remains. What impact do concussions really have on a player’s long term health?

The issue of concussions has long been a topic of discussion in the sports world. I have been playing soccer since I was five years old, and even in the soccer world concussions are beginning to become an increasing problem. Many of my close friends have experienced multiple concussions so this issue is close to my life and lifestyle. Concussions are caused from excessive forceful contact to the head and neck. In football, repeated hits to the head are no rarity in any given game. The impact that causes a concussion leads to damage to brain tissue that is capable of killing brain cells. Over time, the result of multiple impacts can kill enough cells to cause irrational behavior and extensive memory loss. This is all information that I have learned over the years from playing sports. However, I do not know the specific impacts of multiple concussions. I also am not up to date on current concussion protocol although I know it was revised in 2011. I will have to look into this information.

Will Smith as Dr. Bennett Omalu in Concussion

Honey Boo Boo: A Refutation of Kathleen Parker’s, “Honey Boo Boo’ comes, society’s values go”

Fried chicken is pretty good, I cannot disagree here either!

Honey Boo Boo, a show many despise and others view faithfully, it has been a subject of conversation since the first episode aired in 2012. The show takes us into the life of a family that can be described as nothing short of strange and a little bit unpleasant. Kathleen Parker, in her paper, “Changing Channels,” denounces the show as failure of society. However, in my opinion, the show serves the purpose of taking a different lifestyle that we are not used to seeing and bringing it into the living rooms of millions; not only to entertain us but to also teach us valuable lessons. Society does not suffer in any way from the broadcasting of a show like Honey Boo Boo. In fact, the viewers are learning about a much different lifestyle, and for those people that see the show as a bad influence; they can use the behaviors presented by the show to teach their children what not to do.

Kathleen Parker states that with Honey Boo Boo,”society’s values go.”Parker believes that people stay tuning into the show night after night because it is so awful. Parker uses this behavior from viewers to turn Honey Boo Boo into a monster that is progressively taking away our children’s values and the community’s values as a whole. Parker then points to society’s mitigation of reality in our day to day endeavors thus inferring that the entire stance of the show Honey Boo Boo and the family portrayed cannot be credited with portraying a current day reality.

The assumption that I was most opposed with is the thought that Honey Boo Boo is just another example of today’s society mitigating reality. Honey Boo Boo is meant to entertain; there is no doubt about that, but I personally see a deeper meaning behind the show that other people may not completely see. I admit I have not watched much of this show because it does not fall into my interests, but the reality that the show portrays is that family’s reality. Honey Boo Boo shows the lifestyle of a family in a small town in a small house that may not have all of the grandiose things that we worship on a day to day basis in the higher classes. Yes, they are making money off of the show, but they were not before the show aired. The lifestyle they live in the show is the same lifestyle they lived when the cameras were put away. They make the best of that lifestyle by making it this fun, joyful episode that they put on every show. In my opinion, this negative opinion of Honey Boo Boo is an opinion of an unaccepting group of people that cannot imagine any less than fancy cars and big things.

My Argument Style

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

When I see the word “argument,” I almost always begin to think of it as a negative part of day to day interaction between myself and the people around me. For this reason, I tend to avoid argument with my peers on most occasions unless I have the passion or drive to really fight for my opinion on a certain topic. I am the type of person that would rather sit back and listen to another person’s opinion on a subject before giving my own opinion in order to avoid conflict or possibly offend someone. For me, a consensual style of argument is definitely the most preferable.

The last time I argued was with my mom over my schedule this semester. She is always pushing me to do the most work I can possibly do even if it stresses me out in the process. I have learned her tactics over the years. She usually tries to guilt me or scare me into doing this extra work by giving examples of what could happen if I did not. In this case, she wanted me to take 19 hours when i wanted to stay at 15 hours. I backed my decision up with examples of all of the extra activities I already do and also used a ton of stories from last semester’s stressful times. In the end, I ended getting my way, but this scenario is very rare when arguing with her.

In an argument with a single person, I prefer to be indirect and in many cases will go through a different person to get my opinions across. I am a very nonaggressive person and usually find myself submitting to others’ opinions rather than sticking by my own which is one thing that I wish I could work on or change about myself. However, when I do decide that something is worth actually arguing over I prove my points through personal stories rather than basing my statements on actually researched facts. For me, confronting a person alone is a task that is not very appealing at all; it is much easier to have a confrontation in a group.

In a group setting, I always prefer cooperation between all of the members of a group. Everyone should have a chance to insert their own opinions on the issue before any argument begins. After everyone has given their opinion, it is better for sacrifices to be made and for the group to reach a common middle ground rather than everyone continue to stand by their individual argument without giving an inch. I personally always favor group consensus in order to keep the community and group of friends strong. For that reason, whenever I am asked the all too common question “what do you wanna do?” in a group setting; I stick to the same response of “I will do whatever you guys want” every time.

In any situation, the key to an argument is listening. Listening to the other person speak will not only keep hostility low, but it will also show the other person that you respect their opinion and what they have to say. Use examples from what they say to present your opposing views, but I never outright tell anyone that they are completely wrong. Every argument has some credibility and should be treated like it does. The consensual style of argument is definitely best for a person that is more laid back and nonaggressive like myself. For all of these reasons, i choose to be the listener in an argument rather than the antagonist.

This is me, Hunter Collins, and my Golden Retriever, Winslow.