Thursday, May 29, 2014
This piece was written on the request of a very good friend. She wanted me to relate my experiences in studying abroad. I am currently a student at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan in the USA. One of the first questions you may ask is how I got to that school or possibly why I chose it. The answer is that this is just a classic case of making the best of our opportunities.
In the spring of 2011 I applied for a pre-college program at said school and was successful throughout the program. I was awarded a partial scholarship to attend and having faith in God I placed all my chips and made the bet and now I am here. I am currently studying Biochemistry and I have had a wide range of experiences, many of which I hope to someday bring back to Jamaica. Probably the most extensive and beneficial experience I have had and will continue to have, is working at a hospital. In this setting I get to see firsthand what it is I aspire to be and I am able to gather a vast amount of experience with doctors who have been trained to the highest level and to also experience the technological innovations that have yet to reach Jamaican shores.
Studying abroad has the unfortunate reality of homesickness which I often have to battle with. Fortunately there is a network of other Jamaicans who attend and have graduated from the school who still keep our culture very much alive. This system helps in some way to mitigate the homesickness until when I get a chance to visit home again. The major struggles I have experienced in my time here would be transportation and living arrangements. I currently live on my own, by my choice and it is providing that experience of learning how to budget and how to be resourceful. While it could be regarded as a struggle I see it as an opportunity to gain some real world experience and like all the Jamaicans who have attended before me, an avenue by which we become stronger and more motivated individuals.
The school I attend is a bit unconventional in that unlike schools in the USA and in Jamaica, a term for me last only three months and in that time we cover the regular materials the other schools cover in 4-5 months. With that said you have to be on top of time management as missing a single lecture would be like missing a week of lecture at a normal university. Being in the situation I’m in I have been able to adapt (as many persons have to do when studying abroad) and so my academics are doing quite well and as long as I am focused I should continue on the same path.
While the academic schedule is hectic there are many opportunities to be social and so many clubs and organizations are available as well as sporting opportunities and so from those you meet a lot of new people from which you can learn about other cultures. I've met people from China, Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Germany, and Azerbijan just to name a few and from each of them you have the opportunity to learn about a new culture.
Without being in both environments I cannot say studying abroad is better or worse than domestic study. However, I can say that personally I have learned a lot from my time here and have grown to be more independent and even developed a deeper love for my country, out of the fact that Jamaica is one of the brand names you can associate with while studying abroad. So overall the experience has been great and despite all the struggles along the way it is an opportunity worth taking.
By Micheal Thomas
Elements To Success: Need, Passion and Determination
The elements to success in what? That is the first hurdle
we must clear, in this glorious race called life as we perceive it. In your
race, you must choose: when to race, how to train, where to rest, why to push,
who to beat and what to blame. In your race, in success, you’ll find there is
not really a difference between the ‘what’ and the ‘who’. Success lives and
dies with you, not what or who. ONLY YOU CAN WIN YOUR RACE! What race? Your
race. Who’s race? Your race.ON YOUR MARKS!GET SET!Stand up.Okay, the race Marshall has given you time. Time to
focus. How strongly does your survival hinge on this victory? Is this the best
of you? Will you give your all to the very end? You must.You must, from the heart of your
passions. You must be like a passion fruit: pleasantly sweet and tart, and rich in health benefiting
To be successful you
must have passion, you must stand for and be about something. You must be
pleasant, to everyone feels your presence and to yourself/ves. You must leave a
sensual imprint; maybe unforgettably sweet, tart, both, or simply unforgettable.
You must be rich in
health. Your health is your wealth.
must go in with the very best of you, fully dedicated, unwaveringly determined.
You’ll get nowhere if you ride a half assed donkey. So too your success will be
but dreams in the centre of an unbaked pie no one will ever enjoy. It is not
enough to think, sketch, write or scheme. One must go and live, learn, love;
you must be hundred percent 100 committed.
You must, more than anything else, with passion, and
determination, NEED it. It: Success. Success lives and dies with you; how much
life will you feed her. Her survival depends on it. Will you clothe her with
the finest? Will you shelter her from the destructive elements?
...imagine being on both sides of tears,they say a man is trapped by his fears,yet the brave few still rise... ...they say a man carries his hurt forever,everything he touches feels this fever,yet his love is only to burn... ...yet the brave few still rise.
Jason Ricardo Thomas
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Listen closely, with eyes closed and lips
For a moment to what must be uttered when
all other voices have fallen dead
Listen to the steady beat of the drum
within my chest
Shut the world away and find serenity where
only this rhythmic voice resides
Your presence gives me hope, your kisses
bring me life
In a world marred in shadow your light
And chases all despair away
What man could resist such beauty which
rivals to which there can be found no equal?
Words fall to deep slumber when the
gateways of two souls merge
Nothing in this world is perfect, yet there
is perfection in what I have seen.
A walk which carries an orchestra with each
And honey that seeps from the window of
To have and to hold seems almost impossible
To behold is something inescapable
The steady beat of the unseen drum is ever
intensified in your presence
Yes this is a secret to you.
Listen, if only for a moment to what can
only be said
When all other voices have been hushed.
Listen when wind lies still in the dead of
Listen, just listen…if only for a moment.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Dormant I stand, in the face of others
But they do not understand when I tell them
I choose to suffer
I suffer much because of my choosing
Suffer to be fearless, to be heard to be seen
It is a choice I make and though I suffer I
Smile with each breath that I take because I know, yes I know
I chose it, not you, no not you, I chose it.
The rain beats down in thunders that make my cries
Seem like a distant whisper in a forested zone
But still amidst all this I stiff choose to suffer
For within this zone there is more than meets the eye
There is pain yes, but there is also joy
Joy in the endless strains that tug and cut
At my very soul to the point that the life within my veins begin to pour like falling rain
Intangible storms, storms that swirl and
Threaten the very existence of that which makes life worth living.
Still I choose to suffer
Because choosing otherwise would be like feeding ice cream
To a lactose-intolerant kid, or training a dog to sing
My suffering is pivotal to my existence and if you
Take it away and I’m made to suffer no more
Then life would cease and sanity would decrease
Yes decrease to the point of trivialities
Boundless desires with sweetest deaths
Yes I choose to suffer because this is the way it is supposed to be
By Daine O. King
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
"The Greatest Room is the Room for Improvement “. I stumbled upon this quote while attending Denbigh High, I forgot the author’s name but Mrs. Palmer use to write quotes on the notice board at school and I’d read all of them. I grew fond of this one because of the truth that it spoke clearly!
Growth is a continuous process, there’s always something new we want to try, something new we want to learn or something we didn't get to do in our lifetime that we're still desirous of participating in. This blog post develops from a commentary that one of my best friends made on the previous one entitled “Self Doubt”. He didn't like the idea that I was letting the world know I was a chronic procrastinator/underachiever. The idea of that blog post wasn't to celebrate my flaws but rather identify them and connect with my audience to show that they’re not alone with these struggles. Never did I imply that I wasn't successful, if I did such thing I would be what Jamaicans call “ungrateful wretch”. What I stated though is that there’s more that can be done, especially in my academic pursuits; but, because of ‘self-doubt’ development is stunted.
I have come a far way where achievements are concerned; I graduated as valedictory in 1999 from the Effortville Basic School also collecting the award for best attendance. In grade nine, I was awarded by Mrs. J. Richards the Most enthusiastic student moving on to the tenth grade I ended up with four awards at the prize giving ceremony: Top performance in Food and Nutrition, outstanding achievement in Agricultural Science, Home Economics, Social studies and the follow year outstanding achievement is Mathematics, Social Studies, Food and Nutrition and Home Economics. During that same year in graduation I was award Joan L. Wint award for most disciplined student and outstanding performances in home economics and Information Technology. I am currently studying at Northern Caribbean University where I was awarded most outstanding sophomore. My greatest achievement though, is making it out of my teen years enrolled in a University and not with a child. I've served in leadership capacities and on several committees; I have achieved, but what I was saying is that there’s so much more to be done or that can be done. In other words there’s room for improvement, but because of emotional constrains such as self- doubt it has been a slow and monotonous process.
We all can achieve more if we stop doubting ourselves. Do you think you’re at your optimum? Are you satisfied with who are, where you are? What’s stopping you? Lemme answer that YOURSELF, MYSELF/OURSELVES. I know for a fact that it’s not limited resources or support why we aren’t at our optimum; it’s the fact that we highly doubt ourselves.
I am not happy with where I am. Why am I telling you this? I wanna move forward, I wanna be better and I wanna see you climb this ladder of success with me!
Remember the greatest room; is the room for improvement. We can’t improve while doubting, bear in mind the following:
Believing in yourself is the first secret to success.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
LIFE AS A WORKING MOM
Being a mother and working is indeed a challenging task. It can even become overbearing and time consuming
at times. To be honest at first I wish I did not get pregnant at the time I did but I'm grateful and thankful for my
son he's indeed a blessing. Having to balance work and ensuring he's well cared for, was mind rocking at first but with time I learnt to cope and became good at doing so. Being a mom is neither a part time or full time job, it is a LIFE TIME job.
Whatever you teach that child or whatever that child sees you doing that's what he/she will grow to do. I'm
careful with whatever I do or say around him because that's what will reflect through him. So i"m doing my
best to teach him right from wrong, because like my mother would say "Yuh can bend a tree when it old, yuh
affi do it when it young" that simply means I can't and will not wait until he's an adult to teach him right from
wrong. Motherhood has its up and downs but when those little arms reach out to hug you the down times doesn't
matter any more its like it never happened. I don't regret having my son at first I use to say the timing was
wrong, but guess what!? The timing was too perfect. I love my son with all my heart he's the centre of my
universe and MY #1 PRIORITY. Once he's happy I'm happy.
Demalley T. Edwards
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
PUBLIC DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF ELVY SOLTAU
Gender Equality: The Impossible ideal
Quite frequently we hear phrases like “Gender equality” and “Equal rights” being thrown around, especially in relation to roles in society and the work force. The term sexual or gender equality has very often been linked with a horde of shameless man-hating feminists who comb the streets in masses advocating “equality” for both sexes. These ugly images are often turned into public jokes as men comment that the female species has already been given more rights than it really deserves. What then? Does gender equality prevail in every society in this new millennium? Will there be a constant, one sided battle between the women who feel they must “Take back” what the evil race known as “men” withheld from them centuries ago, and the real men who just want to co-exist with their female counterparts and companions?
The statement I am about to make will incur the wrath of all feminists and band-wagonists that are seemingly ignorant of the basic nuances of the English Language, but I will make it anyway:
GENDER EQUALITY IS NOT ONLY IMPOSSIBLE, IT IS UNDERSIRABLE.
Now that you have finished spluttering over the fact that I just made that apparently misogynistic statement ask yourself this question: What IS equality? You see, the problem is that we have managed to use two totally different words interchangeably. Equality is NOT the same as EQUITY. Equality is giving everyone (ie, both male and female individuals) the same levels of responsibilities right across the board. Equity on the other hand is dispensing the appropriate amount of resources and responsibilities according to their unique abilities and needs. I am 5’6 and I have a friend who is 5’10, both of us need to get over a wall that is 6’ high. If we have eight 1”blocks, it would make more sense to share them EQUITBABLY (6 for me and 2 for him) than equally (4 each). That is the principle of justice. Justice is the EQUITABLE (not equal) distribution of resources/responsibilities.
Gender equality is impossible because of this simple reality: men and women cannot be equal because they are not the SAME. 2+2, 8-4, 16/4 and 2x2 have one thing in common: all of them are equal to or the same as 4. But Man does NOT equal woman. No matter how advanced philosophy is, it still does not contradict the fact that women are physically weaker than men. This allows leeway for rape, molest and domestic abuse which once again support the fact that men are dominant over women and that women are constantly at their mercy. The psychological and emotional make-up of a woman is also, whether stereotyped or proven, more towards the maternal and nurturing side. As the popular saying goes, “men think with their minds, women think with their hearts.” This would make women less rational, a quality which is not respected in an economic society where rational decisions are of topmost importance.
Earlier I made reference to the fact that the terms are often used by feminists, and it is my firm belief that what these individuals mean is female supremacy, because the vast majority of their arguments tear down and seek to destroy the roles of men in society. Case in point: The Feminists Mantra: “Anything a man can do, I can do it too, and do it BETTER”. Really now? Place the average female on a construction site to mix cement and carry blocks at the same rate as the average workman and I guarantee she won’t last till lunchtime. Even better: walk around shirtless for a whole day… if you dare.
Finally, let me show you why this concept is undesirable. Situation: A man and his wife are in bed at 3am when suspicious sounds are heard coming from outside or downstairs. Does the man the curl up into a ball and say to his wife: “Honey, take the flashlight and go check that out”? GOD FORBID! After all, is he not the MAN in the relationship? But hold on… Doesn’t gender equality make both sexes EQUAL? So why can’t SHE check it out too? See the hypocrisy in society’s foolish ideals?Do not misunderstand my position on this matter or my motive for writing this
post. I am not a misogynist, I do not support or believe in either sex dominating
as providers and protectors in society. I am just trying to put things in perspective
so that we can THINK more logically and individually instead of swallowing
one more of society’s illogical ideals hook line and sinker without a second
Raising a child when you are going to University is a unique challenge. It can be extremely difficult to manage and prioritize your time. Having a child when you're young is very challenging but definitely not impossible to pursue your dreams.
I wake up every morning to my gorgeous daughter and I think to myself how blessed I am. I'm twenty years old and I won't lie, sometimes I miss the way it would have been if I had not gotten pregnant. But as I grow mentally in motherhood I appreciate each challenges and value my time spent with my princess.
Frankly speaking, I have to prepare breakfast and lunch for her to bring to take daycare and then think about what will be for dinner in the evening. Also, I have to find time to do grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning and studying. All these tasks goes back to proper time management which is my huge problem. I am doing a great job raising my daughter thus far but I haven't been able to manage my time properly. It's a work in progress.
A strong support system is needed for every individual if they are to function effectively and to show their true potential and so I give credit to my parents, parents -in-law and other relatives and friends who have been supporting me in the past two years.
At the end of it all I have a choice to further my education or to become part of the system that's dependable on the government, which I feel is not a productive option.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
This might sound strange; but, I consider myself an under achiever! Yes, you might not see it but I’m a lazy bum.
You may disagree, but you’re on the outside looking in while I’m on the inside looking out. I know my full potential, my teachers that I’ve encountered know that there’s more to me than what I put in. I know it. It eats out my conscience the fact that I sit down and accept these effortless B+ and B-‘s knowing that I have the potential but I just settle for less. One word I have to explain my condition “SELF DOUBT’, yes it’s a dream killer I tell you. I have some wonderful ideas, a fountain of energy, and a team full of supportive family, church family and friends. The thing about me is that I know I can, but when it’s time to actually do I get cold feet. I begin to imagine the things that could possibly go wrong. I’m also like “other people a do this too man dem ago get it dem better that me”. Due to the re occurrence of these thoughts, I’ve become a chronic procrastinator (I’m not proud). It’s has robbed me in so many ways. When I look at young achievers like Micheal Lewis, kimroy Bailey, Ashleigh Barnes, and Jevon Minto among others I’m like “that could be you, but you doubting”. When I tell people that there’s so much more to me that what they see; they’re of the concept that I’m at my optimum. Hell no! I wobbling in mediocrity and so are many of us! Just because of one simple reason “SELF DOUBT”. We’re our own enemies, we stiffing our own growth and don’t even realize.
First things first: Believe that you deserve it.
Secondly remember those that have invested you; don't let them down.
Thirdly remember those who are secretly waiting for you to fall.
Fourthly what do you want you children to remember you as?
Think on these
**Perky Parrot** Over and Out.
I am a lover of sociological theories, although I am very lazy when it comes on to studying them in depth. The theories that captivate my heart the most are: The Conflict theory, the Functionalist theory and Dramaturgy. The conflict theory was coined by Karl Marx, it focuses on inequality. The theory highlighted the idea that society is divided into two classes; the bourgeoisies and the proletariat. The bourgeoisies are the bosses, the rich people they are a small percentage of the population while on the other hand the proletariats are the larger percentage they are often referred to as the working class. The proletariats are treated unkindly and like properties instead of people. Karl Marx in his theory predicted that one day the proletariats will get wise and overthrow the bourgeois using war then equality will result.
The functionalist theory on the other hand states “each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society's stability and functioning as a whole. For example, the government provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state depends to keep itself running. That is, the family is dependent upon the school to help children grow up to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. In the process, the children become law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, who in turn support the state.” The truth is quite evident to some extend in these theories, but the most practical one of them all (or the one that I agree with the most) is Dramaturgy, coined by Erving Goffman the main idea behind this theory is that the world is a stage and we’re all actors. The theory highlights the idea that our behavior vary depending on the group we’re in at the moment. Like actors on stage we give the audience what they want, only allowing certain people to our true secrets backstage.
We are all prim and proper in pubic or in the presence of authority but behind closed doors in our comfort zones we bring out the real us… some even have ‘ghetto behavior’. We wear mask, yes I said we! We’re all guilty even me. There are days when we pretend like we like this person just to maintain the ‘Christian’ perspective that individuals have of us. Some of us wear mask of happiness when we’re dying inside, some to the greater extent wear some severe mask of hypocrisy. We smile in the face of those we know annoy the hell out of us.
There are those in work place, in the churches in our communities and even in our schools we act daily! But my question is for how long can we wear our mask? How long can we keep up a façade of happiness, kindness, spirituality and even love? How long can we lie to ourselves and others about our emotions? How long can we hide the real us? Time! Time will find us out. Time will catch up on us. We can’t pretend forever! Although I can agree that some of us should get act boy awards for our Stella performances daily. The world is our stage for real, God bless the few that get to see the real us.
I can understand that we’re all seeking acceptance, what I can’t seem to understand is why settle for being accepted for something we’re not. In that case are you truly accepted? I strongly believe that we rob ourselves of peace of mind when we pretend. Look at it, we have friends from several classes and creed and we have to be modifying our behavior around each, man that’s too much time wasted.
Is it a case that we're ashamed of ourselves or afraid of rejection? Or we haven’t established a concrete identity? Or are we forced to conform to certain standard by our families but secretly we disagree with them?
My take on all this is; pretending is time wasting, hurtful and unattractive. When we pretend we waste not only our time but those of others. Imagine someone spent years trying to get to know you, then BAM!! You're not what the thought you were. What a lost? It’s hurtful in the case where they took you for someone trustworthy but then to find out you’re an empty shell. It’s unattractive because people know people and you don’t know who would be saying what about you. So you’ll never know who would be saying “you know Elvy? I don't trust her!” Bam! Reputation ruin.
This is an appeal to even me, because the world don’t know that I’m moody, thin skinned and quiet but we’re all under construction. My advice to us is be true to ourselves and know what we’re about, know what we stand for and let people know what we stand for.
Save them time and might be money too.
Don't be disappoint when people begin to act differently sometimes, its the mask that's falling off .
**Perky Parrot ** Over and out!
The world is moving in an undesirable direction. It is slowly being overcome by all manner of evil.
As Christians, we must move counter to this trend. We must be people of love. People who are bearers of the fruits of the spirit; joy, peace, patience, kindness etc. but we sometimes fall prey to the guile of the devil. We sometimes forget who we are and who we serve. We forget about Him who gives our life meaning. We must recognize that we are of a higher calling as our calling comes not from man but from our Father which is in Heaven above.We must be on our guard.
It is no secret that the devil wants us for himself. He wants to lead us to our demise. We must pray earnestly and feed on the Word of God daily. It is only then, through the in-dwelling power of the Holy Spirit, that we will able to discern and overcome the devil's temptation.
Friday, May 9, 2014
The Greco-Roman World and its Contribution
It is impossible to understand the New Testament writings unless you have an understanding of the influence of the Greco-Roman World. David Wenham, commenting on the above statement writes: “If we should have a deeper knowledge of the New Testament World, then, we need to transport ourselves into the world of First-Century Palestine.” The New Testament world came into being in the Mediterranean Region. This world began with the conquest of Alexander the Great, his conquest helped to shape and form the face of the New Testament. Alexander and his armies introduced their culture and ideas upon all their vassals. By doing this, they Hellenized the world.
With Hellenization Greek became the common and widely used language. Even under the rule of the Romans Greek was still the national language. Greek was the language of trade, government, religion and philosophical thought. The various philosophers and philosophical schools also influenced the lives of the people. After the nation of Greece was conquered, Rome came on the scene. Rome was powered and advanced by slave labor; and in extension, persons whose lives were disrupted by war also helped to power this state. The provinces of Rome made significant contributions to ensure the stability and development of the state.
Under this empire a road system was developed, Luke Johnson mentions about fifty thousand miles of road was paved by the year 100 C.E. Despite these good things, there was a heavy system of taxation imposed upon the local citizens. Particularly in Judea, local Jews were employed by the state to collect the taxes. For example: Matthew Jesus’ disciple and Zaccheus were well known and despised by the Jews. (These men were hated.)
In closing, the influence by the Greco-Roman world is quite extensive; however, see the list below for the main contributions:
1. Hellenization of the world by the Greeks allowed for the rapid growth and use of one major language as a means of communication. This language, gave rise to the writing and production of the Greek translation of the Old Testament scripture (Septuagint) used by both Jews and Christians. It also influenced the writing of the New Testament into common Greek.
2. Travel and trade was improved because of the development of paved roads by the Romans.
3. Greek philosophical ideas also influenced the New Testament writers. A close analysis of their writings reflects those of ancient Greek novels and letters.
4. Because of the Pax Romana political peace during the reign of Caesar Augustus. The Christian faith was spread throughout the empire by the early New Testament missionaries.
5. There was also an efficient postal system, which made letter writing common place for commerce, friendship and literary exercise.
Evans, Craig. Dictionary of New Testament Background. Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2000.
Johnson, Luke T. The Writings of the New Testament. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999.
Wenham, David. Exploring the New Testament Volume 1. Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2001.
 Craig Evans, Dictionary of New Testament Background (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 771.
 David Wenham, Exploring the New Testament Volume 1 (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 3.
 Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999), 27.
 Ibid, 27.
 Craig Evans, Dictionary of New Testament Background (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 771.