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At What Point Does Everything Become A Boring Lump of Clay?

After watching the documentary and reading the article assigned for this blog I can only help but ask myself “where is the fun!?” I guess working hard at things isn’t too much fun to people – not everyone likes to organize their record collection in protective plastic sleeves alphabetically and continuously take part in the maintenance that is required to “respectably” house a collection nearing 500, or however many I own. I think that this is all part of the joy and love that I have for record collecting, the tangibility of it all. Sure, convenience is nice and accessibility is great for many, some need it just to be able TO DO.

I’m fortunate enough to have working everything (I’m certain, if anything lacks let me know). So why not try to enhance the act of doing the thing rather than enhance the capabilities of ease in which that thing can be achieved?

I don’t think that machine and vinyl would go well together in the practice of an AI de-dusting, and whatnot, maybe – I doubt it. I wouldn’t trust my rare marble pressed copy of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’ with it. No way. But then there comes the element of physical storytelling. To me there is a human quality (to more reference the article, whereas I was more so referencing the documentary prior) that is unparalleled to what an AI can accomplish.

I care so much for Will Ospreay’s crushing defeat to Kenny Omega because the story told, while predetermined in outcome, the consequences of defeat is real to WILL OSPREAY. Everything he expresses in the post-match press conference happened to him. An AI cannot replicate that. I don’t care about whatever it endures according to its programming, it doesn’t either. Will Ospreay is such a fascinating character, person, and professional wrestler because HE does what HE does.

The first four minutes of this interview, featuring Ospreay, represent professional wrestling in as real of an emotive state as it gets. Blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice.

When the AI beat the humans 4-1 in that Go game, and all of the tech people were cheering it like a legitimate victory, I cringed. Why are we so obsessed with our tools? I don’t cherish that copy of ‘Hounds of Love’ because of it being a tool that plays music, I care because of the human art it contains. The 12″x12″ art print that houses the record, is a beautiful photograph compositionally and contextually in-relation to the art housed. Vinyl is a cool tool and all, but the experience is one that is tangible. Getting a computer to make music for you is not, at least in a romanticized sort of essence that I’m leaning towards.

Getting an AI to draw experiences from is questionable to me too, it is fun, and may enlighten research and whatnot, but where is the authenticity of influence being acquired there? When I sample ideas from film and music in my work – professional wrestling, whatever – I am sampling from the lexicon of my own perspective, and those around me.

Depeche Mode/New Order/Brand New/Converge/etc. all represent the record store clerks that I used to hang out with as a teen at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, or the teachers that would guide me through my high school journey. All of this represents a part of me. I might take from it, but it’s based off of the environment that has crafted my own life. An AI is not my life.

Some Quotes From the Documentary that Made Me Churn:

“A driverless truck would not have that limitation.”

“I wish i had drawn that graph.”

“Overcoming the limitations of our minds.”

An Interview With Minoru Suzuki that Makes My Soul Flutter:

“Interviewer — I see.

Suzuki: Do you, though? Look at what makes a great wrestler. Tall, muscular, can kick, can throw hands, can suplex people, can tap them out, can fly, is charismatic. Get all that together and you have a cleanup hitter. That’s the kind of guy that makes hacks like you, or the fans in the crowd give them the nod.

Interviewer –Right. The total package.

Suzuki: But make an all star team of guys like that, and they’re the most boring team in the league. These days, you can make your own characters in the videogames, right?

Interviewer –Yes, they have edit modes.

Suzuki: So some kid with their video game goes and makes their dream promotion, and it’s full of those aces right? But a baseball team that’s full of cleanup hitters won’t go anywhere. It’s the same for wrestling promotions.

Interviewer –So, even though he was successful in the major American leagues, Jon Moxley is by no means the total package as a wrestler, in your opinion.

Suzuki: It’s a bit of a paradox, but it’s because of that he got chances in WWE. There’s nobody else like him, right? Nobody in the majors in America is like him. So he stands out. Nobody gets that.

Look. An absolute all-round perfectionist, the perfect complete player, tens in every category? Not even Tanahashi is that. Naito isn’t that. They don’t exist.

Interviewer –Those slants, the weaknesses make strengths stand out, and made Moxley stand out.

Suzuki: Hehehe… Everyone in this business is a mark, you included. You fans have this idea of ratings, of skill points. You put all those points in a hexagon graph and calculate an average; ‘oh he’s a good wrestler, over 80 overall’. BS. Who the hell will pay money to buy a ticket, and see a guy who’s a perfect hexagon, 8 out of 10 or above in all areas? The guy with zero overall, the guy who can’t do anything at all, he’s a better draw.

Interviewer –Moxley is a unique breed? Organic, you mean? Real?

Suzuki: Why is Lance Archer popular? Why does Zack Sabre Junior have the support he does? Because there’s stuff they can’t do. Nobody in this goddamn business understands that. Wrestlers don’t understand that. Trainers, people teaching these kids don’t understand that for crying out loud!

Interviewer –The system wants to create all rounders.

Suzuki: So the kids go in, and they train, and their trainers find what the gaps are in their games, and they try to fill those gaps right up. So you have this perfectly smooth, grey lump of boring trash. Fill in those holes on a wrestler and there’s no way in hell he’s filling seats with asses. It’s up to us to make people talk, to make them disagree. Make them argue. So Moxley? It’s because he can’t do s**t that he’s a good wrestler.

Interviewer –So you actually rate him quite highly?

Suzuki: He has something very special about him.”

Interview Link: https://www.njpw1972.com/71601

Go-Time Y’all

Okay, so you see the three generations of wrestlers there – where the guy on the left (Shota Umino) is the youngest, the guy in the middle (Keiji Mutoh) is the oldest, and the guy on the right (Hiroshi Tanahashi) is somewhere closer to the guy in the middle? I feel like the guy on the right. My time here is almost up, and it all feels impendingly SOON for me to wake up as the guy in the middle.

I think that the time I’d like to put into this project, for my own fulfillment, needs to be much longer, meaning after a summer break and one more semester on top of what I actually have left. I have no hesitation that I’ll get this project done in time, and done well. I will, but time-wise I feel like there is just more to spend to really feel like my time was FILLED here as an MA student.

I felt the same way high school. Everything socially and academically seemed at a better place the 2nd half of my senior year, and then it just ended. Maybe that’s because you realize that all that sucked you just allowed to suck, idk. Like how every paper that I stressed over could have been completed just as well had I not let myself stress so much – or didn’t take what that person or this person did/said so seriously.

Which I guess means that this is actually the end of my road here at KEAN – or as a COLLEGE student. Either way, this is more of a mindset blog than a what I got done blog because I want my next one to hold me accountable. I want to get a good chunk of writing done over the next week or two. So expect the next blog to come later in the week than this one does. That was a calculated decision.

This writing I’m not measuring in pages, but in sections. I want to have two well-drafted sections of my project done by the next blog post. This does not have to be my best work, but it needs to be good – by my self-loathing standards AT LEAST. So, you reading this, hold me accountable.

I also have to find some essential photos that will help me fill out my writing, and one that is astronomically essential to the work, as I see it. I’ve been looking for it for months – I won’t spoil it, but I’ll let y’all know when I find it.

There are other goals throughout this week related to the next class and whatnot, but I think I typed enough so I won’t clarify here. Someone just walked into my office to talk to me, so I’ll see y’all here next week.

Human Parts of Writing

Both the documentary and reading were both helpful and insightful to further dive into the subject of AI. Not sure if I have been living under a rock or something but being back in school for my second semester of graduate school, this is my first introduction of AI. I did have one student tell me one day that a system did write his paper, I was confused. With the lack of knowledge of these online tools, I had just assumed that the software had edited his paper for him to make it better. Little did I know.

I am not fully against computer systems. While there are more cons’ than pros’ of course, I do feel like in a way AI can benefit writers, if used correctly. But with everything in life, everything needs to be used with moderation. I like that in the reading there was a distinct message that compares what a creator and an artist is. This is important. While AI systems can be compared to ghost writers, AI still generates writing at a low bar. The artist/writer still needs to build and work on what was created. AI systems really can mostly push and help with any writers block one may have, and I feel like that’s what it mainly should be used for. Computer systems are trained to predict what comes next. And just like that YA author who was writing a fantasy novel and used AI, as we can predict, AI does not always have the best predictions itself of what should come next. The system should be used with a grain of salt, it may be helpful and it may inspire other ideas within yourself that was pushed.

I agree with HOLLYMAHOGANY, AI does loose that human touch. While it can be a great and helpful tool for writers and artists, it will still never be as creative as a human can be. In my opinion at least. While the tool can be there and used when needed, I don’t think it’s a system creators should primarily be fixated on using. It should be there as tool of recourse, not a tool for creativity.

Blog#2 Intro To AI

I found both the reading and video great introductions to the AI world, how far technology has come, and how far can it go in advancements.

Starting I felt AI introduces a conversation that compares what exactly a creator is and what an artist is. I feel a lot of people in this era create content on the internet and are able to captivate their particular audience. When I think of artist I think of Da Vinci with the Mona Lisa and he actually created something others have been inspired by of many years. It was his original thought that sparked many creators to put a spin on his work. This idea may become blinded at some point when it comes to AI in the near future.

It was mentioned that China will soon have a lead against the U.S. when it comes to AI technology by the year 2025. The reason being is they have a leg up when it comes to data and information they are getting from their vast population. They have 10x more data being pressed through AI technology than the U.S., and this is simply because they have a wider population and are able to have the majority using it. They have started using AI as ways to rank what type of citizen you will, or can be.

“Black Mirror” on net flicks has an episode in season 3 that shows this exact method China is using, and exactly how it leads different in the society to the way they chose to live. This community used ratings for housing, travel, and other life necessities that could affect your economic status in America. The main characters whole goal was at first to buy the house of her dreams, and lived like some of her “friends” were. Her rating was lower than those who brought property in that area, so she tried her best to raise her score by getting likes from those around her, and trying to be more interactive with the social part of their society. It drove her crazy, and really showed me how very soon everything will be using this AI technology to take away the “Human Experience”.

The true voice of authors, writers, musicians, and artist are that they were able to make personal connections with an audience that they can keep engaging with. I feel with AI this enters the ideas of just creating content as opposed to actually making it. It loses the human touch that is always needed, because as humans we have something machines can never have, and that is Empathy. This is why movies like M3Gan end with the robot wanting to destroy humans and companions no matter how much information you download in them, or how close you get them to be with a human. Machines lack the human emotion of having empathy for the world around you, and that isn’t something they have mentioned in the AI development process.

intent.

There was one particular line in this week’s article to read that intrigued me and that I would tend to agree with when it comes to the use of AI in writing. The quote was this:

A computer, while not explicitly bringing its own intention, can disrupt the writer’s intention.

AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing, Katy Ilonka Gero

That word intention has a lot of power behind it– it’s the why in anything you write, say, or do. I don’t think I mentioned it too much in my blog from last semester, but one of the first questions my abuelita ever asked my dad (through the translation of my mom) was “what are your intentions?” If you’re going into a relationship just to stay in a relationship, or if you’re going into a relationship based on feelings that can come and go from time to time, what kind of a relationship is that? If you’re going to build a house, are you going to build it on sand or soil that could wash away in a storm? Or would you rather build on a solid and intentionally built foundation?

In many ways it’s the same concept with writing. An author builds a relationship with the audience through the language of the piece– what is said, how it’s said, and why it’s said.

When it comes to using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in writing, I don’t think it’s a great tool if it’s the main source of language in any case. However, it can, for some writers, be a great source of inspiration– I personally don’t like this for most of my own writing unless I’m using it for an idea I already had and just have trouble putting into words. For some this is an incredibly useful tool to chip away at the infamous wall of writers block. AI writing is not my cup of tea for the most part though because it does not bring the same intention that human writing so often does. The intention of AI writing is in its code– its intention is to formulate a sentence that makes sense about a topic provided for it. That said, AI does not feel, and has its limitations on how it can perceive patterns of how certain emotions are expressed. Intention then becomes distorted in formula. A destination is reached in writing, but what does the journey mean– or is there a journey at all– when it’s based on a formula rather than a purpose?

There was another quote from Ilonka Gero’s article that also had me thinking about what it really means to be an honest writer, or even an honest person. (Not to say that writers using AI are inherently dishonest– the point is that AI might sugarcoat that honesty or in some ways limit the full truth the writer is attempting to convey).

Most writers are eager to get eyes on their work, and a computational eye may feel less frightening than your best friend; the computer might judge you, but not in a way that’ll impact your future relationship with it.

AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing, Katy Ilonka Gero

What sticks out to me here is that while making things “less frightening” is sometimes helpful, making it so readily available can take away part of the experience and development of the writer as a person. Fear is, to some extent, necessary for healthy human development. Growth is uncomfortable. This fact is well known and not some sort of major plot twist or revelation.

I mean even if you think about it from a Biblical standpoint like I do, even Jesus Himself said that there would be hardship in this world. There will be times when speaking up or standing up, however necessary, will be scary and difficult. Example: Jonah. Example 2: Moses. Example 3: Gideon. Example 4: Jesus in Gethsemane. There are numerous other examples, but my point is that what is the point in expressing thoughts that everyone is already having? Express the thoughts that might face some opposition and that start genuine conversations where people might learn a thing or two from one another.

And that brings me back to another part of what the article said:

…other writers simply take pride in sitting down and pumping out a thousand words. It’s like exercise. You need to keep it up, otherwise your skills atrophy.

AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing, Katy Ilonka Gero

Pushing limits and boundaries is not comfortable, nor is protecting your own boundaries at times. But it takes practice. And to make it so readily available that AI can “protect us” from the sort of interaction that might help us to develop as people and as writers is something to be wary of.

This all said, the use of AI in writing isn’t entirely bad. Much like with what and how we actually write, how we use this technology is also important to take into consideration. Computers to not bring their own intention into creating, but might suggest a way of phrasing or displaying the intentions of the user that is actually behind creating the piece at hand. Something someone said in e-lit last semester that I think is really applicable here is this idea that creation submits to its creator. I would agree wholeheartedly that is how it’s designed, but as we human beings don’t always submit to the will of God, technology doesn’t always submit exactly to the will of man as we picture it to either. In the case of technology not always doing things exactly how we might picture it, sometimes that can turn into a beautiful, serendipitous moment of inspiration. So using AI as a tool alongside human writing is a beautiful thing of course, though I personally feel convicted to avoid that for the sake of challenging myself more. The question for me is more along the lines of how this might get out of hand.

What do you go by?

Something that’s been on my heart a lot lately is the simple thought that God doesn’t see you by your sin or the things you’ve done wrong. He got up on that cross and died for you by name, He rose again on the third day for you by name, and He has gone to prepare a place for each one of us by name that accept and live by His unending grace. He is coming back soon to call us home by name.

So I guess the question I have for you to think about is this: what is the name you go by?

At some points in my life, I called myself the loner because regardless of whether or not I had friends around, it often felt like I was there just to fill the space. I still have my moments, but moments are not the whole picture. I know that now.

There were some points where I just considered myself a disappointment. I let myself down on promises I made to myself often. I forget things a lot when my mom gives me a list of things to do. Even in moments when I had told someone a friend’s secret for the sake of my friend’s safety I used to consider myself a disappointment to my friend because I’d betrayed their confidence, regardless of the reasons.

Sometimes I felt defenseless or like a victim more than anything, for a number of reasons that some of my past creative pieces outline.

I could go on with the names I used to go by, but ultimately none of those names I give myself matter. None of those were the name that Jesus called me by, though He considered what I called myself in how He called me. He never compromised the identity I was born with, and nor should we when approaching others, but He used the identity I once held to show me just a fraction of the great magnitude of His grace.

I mean think about it, Paul was once the greatest persecutor of Christians, but in every letter he wrote in the New Testament, he introduces himself as a servant of, an apostle of, or a prisoner for Christ, and in a couple of those openings his pupil and friend, Timothy, is included as such. Simon Peter was a fisherman and a gambler, but in both of his letters included in the New Testament he calls himself an apostle, and in 2 Peter he adds that he is a servant of Jesus Christ. When we accept Christ as our Lord and savior, we are dying to ourselves– the identity we held before is no more and we are made new through the power of Jesus’s blood. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” This is echoed from Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Paul continues to build on this idea of becoming a new creation in Christ in Philippians 3 as well, but I think before quoting this it’s important to say that even when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are not yet perfect– on this side of heaven we are consenting to the process of sanctification. We are committing to not only resting in God and His promises and trusting that His work is enough to make us perfect come Judgement Day, but we are also considering that He doesn’t keep us from the fiery furnace– He walks in there with us. Philippians 3:12-16 says this:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

So while in this very moment we are not perfect, the Word tells us of God’s promise to wash us clean of our sins (Isaiah 1:18) and to create in us clean hearts (Psalm 51:10), the work is as good as done. What God says will happen, will come to fruition. What God says will happen is as good as done.

God shows this in a myriad of ways, but I want to go back to Daniel for a moment, before Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walk into the fire. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace be heated to seven times its normal heat, which was so hot that even the guards outside the door that threw the three into the fire died. The significance? Seven days of creation, opening line of Genesis is seven words, symbolic of fullness or completion. In that opening line of Genesis, the middle of those seven words in the original Hebrew is two letters– alpha and taw– which are the beginning and end of the Hebrew alphabet.

In other words, when God is at the core of who we are, what we do, how we live… there is nothing that can stop His power that is living in you. Culture changes. We change. Things and people come and go. But one thing is sure, as it’s said in Isaiah and quoted in 1 Peter:

A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”

Isaiah 40:6-8

And while we are in the exile that is this life on this earth, Peter points out that we should be conducting ourselves in a way that shows gratitude for the payment of the debt we could not pay. The payment that, when we place full faith in Jesus, makes us righteous before the perfect, holy, and just God. The payment that makes us adopted sons and daughters of the Most High God.

So I ask again, what do you go by? The changing states of mind, past traumas, or other struggles you deal with (not that those are any less valid hurdles in life)? Or do you call yourself a servant of God, a child of God, and someone that– however undeserving– God calls beloved?

New Semester = New Beginnings!

The start of each semester feels like a breath of fresh air. I like how calm it is in the beginning, because this is the only time you feel you can accomplish everything, and by the middle you just hope to keep it all together! I’m very excited for this spring semester personally. I like how it starts off with super cold weather and then as it wraps up we end up in beautiful spring weather, its like finding a light at the end of the tunnel that their is no turning back on.

I am truly enjoying this masters experience, although at times it can really feel a bit overwhelming and stressful. I take comfort in most of us having the same classes for the last 3 semesters, because it bring a since of stability which I enjoy.

My name is Jasmine but my online persona is Holly Mahogany. I am very into social media and monetizing my participation on the apps I use such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook mainly. Recently my 3 year old has shown an interest in making up her own dances and recording them and showing me. I don’t want her on social media just yet, but I appreciate the enthusiasm. I also Have twins who will be 8 months this Friday. They are literally all over the place to say the least, so basically I am pretty busy. I do work full time from home as a Customer Care Supervisor and I don’t think I can ever leave the house again for work.

During undergrad I remember taking a class that dealt with “Netnarr” with Professor Alan Levine. It is a class that I remember so well because it truly left a great impression on me. I still play with one of the apps on my phone called “Digital Alchemy”. Basically you need to create everything within the universe, even the universe ! I have played it but never found all the objects, it really is a great creative time waster. I know this class will be very interesting with the information we will be given. I also remember “Netnarr” as a way to connect with other classes that are learning similar things we will learn. I can not wait to jump in.

Introduction 3.0

Alrighty, so for those of you who have been following this blog in the past, cool. For those of you new to me (I hope that there are a few) I’m Brandon. Most of my friends call me by whatever insulting name comes to mind – that’s our sense of humor. You can call me WHATEVER you want, I like personable, unique, nicknames.

I’m a huge film/music/professional wrestling nut (you’ll see constant references to each throughout this blog if you pay close attention), and really wear my interests on my sleeve. I really dig expression and boldness, and never understood why people reserve themselves. It’s weird. If someone is going to like you allow them the opportunity to like you for you, otherwise the relationship (in whatever form it takes) is probably going to crack much easier.

Besides all that I’m quite impulsive and hyper and whatnot, but I don’t necessarily view that as as negative as I did as a kid. I think over time you tend to work with those kinds of details and refine them to be positive factors of your ability/personality. Still, I find that I grate people sometimes. Like how run-on my writing can be and how scattered my ideas are expressed here, such is essentially a representation of how I speak in real time.

Oh, vulgarity! I can be pretty vulgar too. I’ve always been a big fan of shock-schlock. I love old exploitation films and really questionable corners of the music world. I’m still waiting for some super ironic GG Allin TikTok resurgence. Not because I’m a huge fan of Allin, or even his music, but because I think that Irony is A bit of Dead Scene, and like to laugh at how absurd it gets – even if those causing it are completely unaware/unironic.

As for this course I’m pretty excited for it. The students that I already know I think are an enlightened and engaging bunch, and my new peers seem like the kind to bring a different perspective to the table. The content itself seems to be pretty intriguing – especially the focus on artificiality in the sense that I want to look closer regarding how near or far such a thing really is to our own human core.

It’s me, again

I could go on about myself like I did last semester for e-lit, but that sounds a bit redundant. So if you’re interested in learning (or re-learning) a bit about my faith, my past self, my present self, and who I’m striving to become, it’s in the hyperlink above. If you’re anything like me and don’t really feel like reading two whole posts for the answers you could easily be getting in one, I’ve got you there too. Here’s some of the basics about me:

faith

If my other blogs, or writing pieces, or social media accounts, or my JLY sweatshirt (15% off code : BIANCA) on the first day of class didn’t give it away enough, I’m openly and unapologetically Christian. I’m not exactly about denominations– the Church is the Church, as far as I’m concerned, and the Bible doesn’t outline anything about any denomination being more or less righteous than another. That said, not every denomination holds doctrine that is actually backed by the Bible, so that’s why I simply consider myself a Christian.

I’m also not exactly the type to seek out conversation, but I am more than happy to talk or just listen if anyone is curious, hurt, or confused by anything Church- or Bible-related. I promise I won’t bite or judge, as it unfortunately seems that being judgmental is a stereotype for most Christians. The questions you might have, I’ve probably had at some point too or at least had a friend wrestle with that question. Ecclesiastes 1:9 mentions that there’s nothing new under the sun; that applies to struggles, doubts, fears, you name it. You aren’t alone. That said, I may not have all the answers, but Galatians 6 talks a bit about this co-learning process that this class is even modeled around.

You’ll probably find that faith is a huge part of what, how, and why I write, and that’s because it most certainly is. On my last blog post from last semester, I talked a lot about why that is, though it also is in many ways an overflow of gratitude for all He’s done and how He loves us.

why i write

I’ve said this many times to friends and as part of my testimony, but I genuinely believe that writing as an art was the crutch God gave me to make it to the moment I came to a place of full reliance on Him. That’s really just how I started writing though. I kept it up for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is a crutch in many ways when I’m walking through a difficult season of life.

Among these other reasons, I write because it helped me feel heard– like I had a voice at least the pages would listen to when no one else would– and it would be selfish of me to keep that entirely to myself. I consider this especially now that these issues aren’t as prevalent in my life and I understand writing is a resource, not The Source.

Writing also takes up a large portion of my prayer life. I keep a few different journals for prayer

other things i do & other commitments

I might’ve mentioned this at some point last semester as well, but one of those commitments I have other than school is that I’m a youth leader at Sparta Church, where I go just about every Sunday for high school core classes, services, and also for work. But as for youth, I’ve been doing this every Sunday morning and night for almost two years now. My senior girls have a special place in my heart, and I’ll be missing them so much as many of them leave for college at the end of the summer, but so proud of the bold, bright lights they are for Jesus. In many ways, the co-learning structure of this class makes me think of them because they teach me so much more than I think they’ll ever realize.

While this was a daunting challenge at first as well, I was a camp counselor last year for Sparta’s summer camp, Breakaway Day Camp. I’m an introvert, and though I like trying to be more extroverted at times, this was a lot to handle. I can’t say that I didn’t love it though. As exhausted as I was, these were some of the best weeks of my summer last year. And if I end up sticking around this summer, I’ll be so excited to go back.

I’m also going to be in-season as a swim coach for both the Sussex YMCA, and for my former high school, Pope John XXIII. I’ve been a swimmer since I was eight years old, and it didn’t take long after the pandemic forced me to quit the swim team here at Kean after half a season and lots of progress for me to want to jump back in somehow. Ever hear the saying “you can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of the girl?” Yea, same thing here. Something about the love/hate relationship almost every swimmer has with this sport tends to keep us roped in somehow.

The high school season will be keeping me roped in at least until early March though, as we’re entering championship and state’s season, both for team states, and for individual states to top it off in March.

It’s me, Hi!

Hi,

My name is Julie (although I usually prefer Jules, it’s what everyone pretty much calls me). This is my second semester of my graduate program here at Kean. And so far, not too shabby. I feel like I am right where I am suppose to be alongside with work and just life in general. Feeling pretty positive which is good because at least one thing is going right, right? Anyways, I’m 26 years old, I work at Passaic High School, I’m the youngest sibling of two, I have four pets, and I like to read and write. Which would make sense of my placement here I suppose. I’m also really big on film photography.

But yeah, I’m excited for this course and the things I will learn as I go.