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United Planet Day Contest

19 Oct

I won the United Planet Day contest for travel journalism!

I entered an essay about my experience in a village outside of Gulu, Uganda.

This means I get $2,000 towards my trip to Amman, Jordan this December!

I still need $800 for airfare – consider giving a tax-deductible donation!

Connections

24 Feb

I vowed to talk about my opinions and thoughts on my blog, and it’s been a month since I have. I confess, I’m scared.

Scared because I don’t like being vulnerable. And when you put your thoughts and opinions on the table to an invisible audience, they can say anything. Anonymously.

I think anonymity is what’s breaking our society down. It’s easier to say something to your keyboard than to someone’s face. So we have internet trolls who just harass people online.

I also think everyone is longing for that connection. Here on campus, so many of our clubs are rooted around simply connecting with other people. We have clubs for connecting with the GLBT/allied community, religious communities, communities across cultures and communities of one particular culture.

My roommate planned a slam poetry night, and people got up in front of strangers and read their deepest feelings. Sometimes it’s easier to do that in front of strangers instead of friends. All the poems were beautiful, mostly in a sad way. Most of them were about broken connection – broken hearts, betrayal, loneliness. And everyone cheered for every poet.

I went to a brand new club a few nights ago, the Peace Club. People were there from four different schools, just seeking understanding with the world. The group of us sat around together and talked about the Egypt revolution and how social media is both a curse and blessing to communication. I was more contented than I ever have been with a club meeting – those were my people.

Even social media – though it makes it easy to act out in ways that you wouldn’t in person – comes down to connecting with others.

The peace journalism project I worked on last summer was about connection, too. It’s easier to communicate with your enemies once you realize they’re just like you.

I think that’s true in a lot of life though. It’s easier to connect when you realize that no one is really that different from you.

A Belated Resolution Announcement

20 Jan

I’ve never really made New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve watched everyone I know make them and break them around the third week of January every year. Obviously, I didn’t have faith in myself to do better than that.

I made two resolutions this year. I decided to post them on the internet so I would be accountable for these things. I hate to look stupid, so if I tell people I’m going to do something, I do my best to get it done.

So, here goes.

1. Make choices that will lead to weight loss and health.

2. Post my thoughts and opinions on my personal blog.

The first one is one that almost every American makes every year. Let’s be honest – I’m overweight and that needs to change. The problem is, whenever I think about losing weight, I get hungry. This may mean that I’ve come to rely on food as a comfort in the face of a long-haul problem. That’s got to change. To help me with this, I’ve stocked up on Smart Meals and bought some comfortable sneakers to exercise in.

The second one is actually a big step for me. I’m a journalism major, and I actively try to keep my opinion out of my work. If you have followed me on social media, you may notice that I don’t often express an opinion. I talk about activities and try to be funny, but I don’t really reveal me. This is because I’m afraid my college antics will deny me a job later.

The truth? I really don’t have college antics. I go to Rocky Horror sometimes. That’s the extent of my craziness.

It’s also been a policy of mine to not talk about politics with people I intend to get along with. I’m not a big fan of most politicians, and my ideas are not widely accepted by the two-party system supporters.

For example, I signed up for a peace studies course. The instructor asked us to describe what we think peace is. I have really strong opinions on this. I said peace in society is the right to be left alone.

The instructor said I was freakishly anti-social. Her vision of peace involves everyone agreeing with each other, so there’s no conflict.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think we’re ever going to all agree. As long as we have different values, we will have conflict. I think as long as a person isn’t harming another person, and is a productive tax-paying member of society, we should leave them alone to make their own life decisions. It’s not an anti-social choice, it’s a tolerant choice. I dropped the course.

I have a new internship, and I’ve been a pretty quiet person in the office. I didn’t talk about my love of Rocky Horror and that my roommate and I go see it performed live and I’ve been learning the counter-lines. But my boss friended me on Facebook, and I accepted. She saw my post professing my love for Rocky Horror, and after a brief moment of inner terror when she mentioned it, we bonded. And then, when she told others in the office, I bonded with them, too. So I learned it’s better to have a personality.

I read an article recently that if a woman flaunts her “unattractive” features, it actually makes her more attractive. Apparently, everyone is just looking for someone who’s different than the rest, and all this fitting-in malarkey is hurting our relationships.

So, here’s to me sticking out. Here’s to personality. Here’s to being vastly unattractive at times, and having that be all together more human and likable than self-censorship could ever be.

Welcome to the Andi Enns blog, 3.0.

Park freshman build Celtic garden on annual service day

1 Oct