Commonplace Books

CPB 1:

“When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” –unknown

Everyone should hear these words because let’s face it, life can be tough sometimes. Most people are battling demons while maintaining a smile. I have learned in the past 18 years of my life that struggle is inevitable. But, if you apply this quote to your everyday thinking, you most likely will experience more ups than downs.

My grandmother used to call me her “little sunshine”- most likely adapted from the lullaby song “You are my Sunshine.” She then would proceed to tell me that I could do anything I set my mind to- no matter how big the rain cloud. This did not apply to me until my later years of life, when I encountered what felt like HUGE rain clouds. My advice to anyone going through a storm: do not worry, pack your umbrella and focus on the rainbow at the end.

The cliche truth is plain and simple- you actually CAN do anything you set your mind to, most of the time the only person stopping you is yourself. I encourage everyone reading this to take a minute and think about completing at least one thing for yourself daily. It does not matter how big or small it is, but you need to do it. At the end of the day, you are your own sunshine.

CPB 2:

“Slow down, you’re doing fine, you can’t be everything you want to be before your time.” – Vienna, Billy Joel

I chose this quote from the very famous song Vienna by Billy Joel because these words have recently held a very big impact on my life. Oftentimes, when I am overwhelmed with school, I forget to count the blessings I already have. More recently, I have found myself in sort of a hole, with no way to dig myself out.

            The other day, my dad told me to listen to this song when I was having trouble focusing. I vividly remember him on the phone saying to take each day piece by piece, “Mia, if you are constantly focusing on the bigger picture, it will not get you anywhere; take things in chunks. Celebrate your little accomplishments.”

            After hearing this advice and hanging up the phone, I believed it was baloney. No song could improve my mood. But, against my will, I thought I would give the song a chance. Immediately after playing it, the lyrics hit my ears in a different way, and I believe I formed a deeper connection with this song. My dad was in fact right, but don’t tell him I said that.   

CPB 3:

My Commonplace Book writing today is going to take a different approach. This time, my quote is not from a song or a famous author. Instead, one of my closest friends. For some context, I was explaining to him the amount of homework I had to do and how I was very annoyed. To my surprise, he responded very differently than I expected.

“That is good, your life has purpose.” Boy did this hit me. My entire perspective of homework changed. When he said these seven small words, my negative attitude transformed into appreciation.

I began to think of the many classes we have had together with Professor Hoskins, in which he usually asks the reasoning for any professor assigning any sort of work. Every time he asks this I am usually left pondering for the correct answer. What really is the reason for homework? Are all of these assignments truly going to be applicable to my life or career after my studies at Georgetown?

The answer is yes. There would be no point to going to college or completing these assignments if the end goal was to not grow and gain more knowledge. So in conclusion, the advice from my fellow older Georgetown friend helped me remember why I started in the first place. Thank you, David.

CPB 4:

“Women belong in all places where decisions are made.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I chose this quote in honor of RBG’s passing. She was an amazing role model for women all over the United States, including me. Ruth spent her time as a supreme court justice advocating for many important issues she was passionate about, including Roe vs. Wade.

With her passing away, it now means the president can replace her spot with a new candidate (supreme court justices are appointed for life). This has raised many concerns, as the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, is republican, as well as pro life.

While I did not choose this to discuss my political beliefs, even though a man should not ever be able to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body, I chose this to highlight the significance of participating in politics, and how Ruth Bader Ginsburg set the path for many women to follow.

While in my current American government class, I was blown away when taught about who represents our congress; almost the entire population is made up of white males. Although my textbook explained that this was because this specific group is most likely to go into the law and politics field, I was shocked! Why do we not have more women or diversity participating in policy making?

Although I could go on and on, I just wanted to highlight the significance of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the impact she made on millions of people. She went against the social norm and proved people wrong. Rest in peace, you will never be forgotten.

CPB 5:

“That first Sip Feeling”- The side of my starbucks cup

While this may be possibly the most pointless quote ever to evaluate, it was the only one on my mind when I sat down to write this. For some context, I am on the corner of Wisconsin on the outside porch at Starbucks. The weather is nice, but fairly hot for my liking. The person to my left is repetitively speaking French terms outloud to themself, and I am sitting in a rather uncomfortable chair next to them trying my best to tune it out.

“That first sip feeling.” Hmmm, could this be a true factor that many people believe, implying that the first taste of the drink is the best? Or is it just simply a corny advertisement Starbucks chose for their plastic cup design of the month. I suppose the only way to know this answer, is to test it out for myself.

I ordered my classic; iced vanilla latte with almond milk and cream. Basic, I know. My first drink was in fact significantly good, but I wouldn’t go as to say superior to the ones to follow. I am now wondering whether or not the question I brought to light, “is the first sip truly the best?” better to be left as a rhetorical one, considering how dumb I feel typing this now. To answer my own question, which implies that in fact it does need an answer, making it non rhetorical,  is yes. It is truly up to the person drinking to decide how much they enjoy their first sip. Even if you believe the first drink of coffee trumps the rest following, why would you listen to my negative analysis saying it differs? Decide for yourself, don’t let anyone take away your coffee drinking joy. 

Thank you for listening to my opinionated coffee experience. In conclusion, I have decided that the last sip is actually by far the best, considering it has all of the residue of the drink mixed together in one beautiful sip.

CPB 6:

With election day approaching us quickly, I thought I would talk about a very applicable rhetorical question, “How did America become so partisan?” While I do believe many people could list countless reasons as to why America is divided, the true question remains how did it get this way.

            While in his Legal Arguments, Fish points out that specific fields of study should be left to the people who work in them. For example, we let lawyers present our cases to a jury and the judge because they went to law school and studied the law. Therefore, they are more knowledgeable about regulations and how the law works. Relating to this, I wonder if American politics should be left to politicians, and if so, is it currently?

            We do have a democratic government system, meaning we elect people to represent us, but will there ever be a perfect way in which people’s views and opinions get represented other than what we have now? In other words, are the politicians we elect doing their jobs correctly and or efficiently?

            If the answer was yes, then I believe our country would be more bipartisan. While I do recognize that it is not solely the politicians’ fault for the country not agreeing, I believe they egg on the division of parties, which makes things worse. In order for our country to succeed, America needs to come together and meet in the middle. Although I did not answer how the government became so partisan, I believe I brought to light the issue that needs to be discussed.

CPB 7:

“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” -Drake.

I believe everyone struggles with what others think of them, so as a result, they allow the opinions of those people to dictate their actions and/or feelings. But, this should not be the case. When you are doing something, you should do it because you enjoy it, not because another person tells you to like it. In this day and age young adults are so concerned by pleasing others that they lose a sense of their identity. 

On the other hand, I do believe taking advice and learning from others is important as well. A person should grow and better themselves always, but only if the advice given is truly for your personal benefit. I also believe you should challenge yourself and never give up on your dreams.

Rhetorically speaking, someone is going to disagree with your actions no matter what you do, so shouldn’t you do what you want? Why do humans care so much about how others view them? This is a question I often ask myself, because I do not understand. Even I am guilty of this. Is it because humans were made to feel like this? Or is it the society in which we live in? Regardless of the reason, it is a prominent issue.

To look on the other side of things, again, I am curious as to whether or not caring about what others think of you is a bad thing. Obviously if you let it consume you it will not be healthy. But, if you did not care at all, what would be the point of doing things if you did them solely for yourself? Are humans not made to share connections with others? Or are things the way they are just because they are, not for any particular reason. Am I trying to find an answer to this question because it is human desire to? Or is there actually a cause as to why the words of other people matter to us. 

CPB 8:

“The polarized state of our politics, alas, means that people are so taken up with their political identities that they’re unable or unwilling to consider the views of those outside of their political tribe.” –The New York Times

I came across this quote when I was reading an article from the New York Times, Should I Stop Speaking To My Trump Supporting Friends? In which, an unhappy writer wrote about the stress of pursuing a friendship with a friend on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Anonymously written, this person expressed how she did not share the same beliefs, so it became hard to see the friendship continuing.

The New York Times answered this question very well, and I would have similarly too. They said that people need to be more open minded with each other, and learn to listen to opposing opinions. It does not matter if you disagree about certain policies, breaking a friendship off because of this is not worth it. I believe that having a variety of views is actually beneficial. If you only surround yourself with people who think identically to you, it becomes a groupthink scenario, and allowing other viewpoints into your own beliefs will prevent political bubbles.

On the other hand, I do believe it is important to always stand for and by what you believe in. If the morals of the opposer do not align with yours, and it becomes a constant battle to continue the friendship, maybe it would be best to take a step back. But, overall, this should not be an issue. I am curious as to what you all think. Do you think politics are a part of someone’s identity? Is it okay to still be friends, even with significantly different viewpoints?  Where should the line be drawn? 

CPB 9:

“The state has conducted two recounts, with the latest count showing Joe Biden winning by roughly 12,000 votes.” – The New York Times. 

The Georgia debate, which occurred last night, Sunday December 6th, was a very intriguing conversation, so I thought it would be adequate to discuss a quote from an article written this morning;  December 7, 2020. This statement, written by a journalist from the New York Times, is describing a very relevant controversial topic for both sides of the political spectrum. No matter what party you affiliate with, this debate affects you. (If, of course, you take part or have an interest in politics). 

Some may ask, “how does this affect me” or “isn’t the election already over?” Well yes, the election is indeed over, but the future of the United States senate depends on the outcome of the election on January 5th, 2021 in Georgia. The result of this election will determine who holds an effective majority in the upper chamber. If the democrats win, it will allow Joe Biden to govern easier during his term as the president. If the republicans win, it will make it more difficult for Biden to govern, because the views between parties will not align. This is the beauty of checks and balances. No matter what side the president is on, they will always be accompanied by congress with their own set of standards. 

As I am getting more into politics everyday, I have made a realization that this is what I want to do. I find it fascinating to follow the current policies and or issues. I am curious as to what the result will be on January 5th. To relate back to my quote in the beginning, I am going to ask you, the reader, what you believe. Do you think there was voter fraud this election? Or do you think Joe Biden won fairly? Regardless of your answer, I encourage you to take part and follow along with the upcoming Georgia election.

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CPB 10:

“When the flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”
– a random quote from my Pinterest board.

I found this to be very interesting, especially because I have not considered this perspective before. My interpretation of this means that when there is an issue, you change the things that are causing the problem, not yourself as a person. I do not know if I agree with this 100%, because what if one of the factors causing the conflict is your mindset or you as a whole? I believe that the only reason people do not do things is because they come up with an excuse to justify the conditions that are stopping them. 

You can do anything you set your mind to, the reasons in your head are excuses. Hard work does pay off, and everyone starts from somewhere. Regardless of whether or not I agree with this quote fully, I do think it is a good thing to keep in mind when coming across a problem. It shows that there is more to life you can change in order to be successful. In fact, the most successful people are the ones who fail multiple times, failure is their fuel to keep chugging. 

Do you believe that the way to see change is to alter the factors in your environment? Or, do you believe the reason for not being successful is derived directly from a person’s mindset and actions? Is it a combination of both? Are these answers to the question, or are they just phony statements to make a person feel better about not succeeding? I encourage you, the reader, to take a step back and think about this, maybe it will benefit you when your next conflict strikes.