Feeds:
Posts
Comments

We are concluding the eighth week of classes for the Fall semester.

Fall break blessed us with a short three-day week, the football team has yet to do anything less than impress and the first round of tests are only memories. Whether it affects those with graduate school only a year away, those only months out of high school or anyone in between, the same schedule and inexorable pile of homework can leave many in a state of ennui.

Defined as a sensation of complete exhaustion and dissatisfaction resulting from satiety or apathy, the same old routine quickly becomes the only way to live. Boredom mars the reality of goals and aspirations to the point that they are almost intangible.

How about shaking things up? Sure, you could try a Red Bull to get energized or Google “things to do when you’re bored,” but to break out of the monotonous, consistent everyday patterns, we must change to mend long-term ennui.

For example, watching late night comics can provide therapeutic remedies for the mundane. As is the case with talk show host Conan O’Brien and Mayor Cory Booker from Newark, N.J. A debate ensued when O’Brien called out the mayor’s stomping grounds by saying the new healthcare program would consist of “a bus ticket out of Newark.”

After two weeks of playful repartee, Booker has been booked to appear on “The Tonight Show” and finally lay to rest their enduring, heated argument. This is an example of a mayor with a little too much time on his hands that transformed into a great publicity boost for his city.

Alternately, too much time on hand and the monotony of everyday life molds destructive behavior. Take for example the group of teenagers from Florida who could not comprehend the magnitude of their actions after setting fire to their own classmate a few days ago. The boy affected will spend the next five months in the hospital recovering from second-degree burns covering 80 percent of his body solely because of actions that might have been prevented had there not been a large margin of free time for those students.

Adolescent atrocities might occur out of the tendency to fall into destructive patterns when life becomes tedious, and some choices are utterly unacceptable. Positive or negative ends can stem out of repetitive means.

However, a clear and fresh perspective on school, relationships, and life in general is a road not too far traveled off the beaten path. Through motivation and persistence we can achieve a long-standing objective, but the spices of life emerge through everyday detail. The key purpose to this idea is focus and incentive in pursuit of achievement.

To always have a smile, approach that impending paper from a new angle, or realistically assess a troubled relationship are keys to this pursuit. It may be halfway through the semester, and many of us are on “cruise control” until the winter holidays, but I recommend a healthy dose of living vicariously through organized plans and spontaneous details.

But of course, if you’re really bored, you can always try sending a copy of your latest anthropology paper to Conan O’Brien for review and public comment.

Advertisements

10/1/09

Two of the most prestigious universities in the world – Harvard and Yale – are claimed to be home to some of the greatest minds, and some of the greatest pranksters, too.

Date: Nov. 20, 2004. Location: the Harvard-Yale football game at Harvard Stadium. Persons involved: the “Harvard Pep Squad” and fans. On game day, the avid pep squad arrived at the venue with placards in hand to pass out to a select group of Crimson aficionados who would then hold up the pieces in one big expression of school-spirited unity.

Cue in the catch.

Unfortunately, the “Harvard Pep Squad” does not exist and neither did the names that were on the ID cards that Yale students used to infiltrate the home stands. As the placards went up, Yale students had something to laugh at from across the field. The message “WE SUCK” sprawled across the Harvard side in crimson and white.

In the aftermath of the event, both schools proved to possess superior sportsmanship and claimed that it was all in good fun.

All schools have their rivalries. The University of Texas has Texas A&M, the Naval Academy has West Point, and, of course, TCU has SMU. But innocent rivalry can easily cross the line into unpleasant territory. That’s why on Sept. 29, Chancellor Boschini and SMU President R. Gerald Turner issued a letter encouraging TCU and SMU students to harness their incongruities during game day this Saturday.

Similarly, bipartisanship in American politics must be exercised to meet the ambitions of both Democrats and Republicans. Like enduring collegiate rivalries, both parties must “reach across the aisle” to achieve progression when addressing topics such as health care, the economy and ethical matters.

Our government takes to heart the value of weighing both sides of an issue before coming to a decision. Numerous political figures preach the importance of bipartisanship and would agree that a truly good sport could understand that Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” comment and former-President Bill Clinton’s mystified “relations” comment mutually fall under the category of reprehensible. To open-mindedly engage in debate about who might win the mid-term elections or who might win the football game would certainly be examples of fair game.

As the Horned Frogs and Mustangs gear up to play for the Iron Skillet, first-rate sportsmanship cannot be overlooked. In the past, intense athletic competitions have pushed crowd members, coaches, and even parents to make the wrong decisions, even at the little league sports level. All Boschini and Turner ask is that football fans practice responsibility and a certain degree of etiquette at this exciting game.

To me, that’s not too much to ask. Yell “Pony Down” here and make a little fun of the band’s uniforms there, but don’t go overboard.

9/17/09

Last week a woman from a suburb of Detroit went on a date that took a turn for the worse – and the peculiar. When it came time to pay the bill at the restaurant, her date informed her he had left his wallet in her car and asked for the keys to retrieve it. He then stole her car and left his date stranded at Buffalo Wild Wings to foot the unpaid bill.

We cannot only question why she gave someone she barely knew her car keys, but also question her expectations. Far too often what we hope for falls short of what we get. In relationships, academia and daily routines we find ourselves shortchanged by a big-time deposit and a minor return.

Expectations can also take shape politically. Last Tuesday, our president gave a speech to millions of school-age children. While the speech had the potential to invoke inspiration in America’s youth, it was the week leading before that had many left with bated breath. Conservatives feared Obama would send a politically-charged agenda to the young, impressionable minds of our nation and liberals worried they would have to defend the president from remarks irrelevant to the content of his speech.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first to use the term “bully pulpit” for an elected official – an authority figure with the ability to speak out and influence any ideas and issues.

Politicians today must not abuse that right. It is their responsibility to balance their politics with their philanthropy? What was our expectation as a nation for Obama’s school speech? Did we question his motives too harshly? Viewing the circumstances retrospectively, I say we did. Whether Obama is your favorite or least favorite president, his eagerness to raise schoolchildren’s aspirations parallels the words of many past presidents. Our 40th president, Ronald Reagan, even invited students to send letters to the White House. While we must hold the role of president to a very high standard, we must not seek political agendas around every corner.

When the woman from suburban Detroit had her car stolen on a first date, her prospective outcome was not nearly in the same ballpark as reality – but how could she have possibly known a crook sat at the other end of the table?

By slowing down and taking a deep breath, we can understand it is vital to set reasonable expectations. But please, never give your keys to strangers.

9/4/09

In April 2009 a different version of the most famous line in literary history emerged – “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in want of brains must be in want of more brains.” Wait, what? Whose idea was this?

Seth Grahame-Smith and his editor at Quirk Books worked in conjunction for months revising the classic tale of Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett from proper etiquette to proper zombie defense in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” However, critics and fans alike arouse similar inquiries – What would Jane think?

As TCU students, and the general population, move further in to the new millennium, we come up less with new thoughts and more with recycled ideas. In some ways these cyclical patterns help us tremendously as we discover ways to update our data-packed world.

For example, the framers of the U.S. Constitution implemented a series of rules and standards that we still live by. And amend. And muddle. And try to figure out what the heck they meant by “bear arms.” But as components of an advancing and modernized society we continually strive to obtain relevant laws that adhere to our needs as a country presently.

Alternatively, the film industry rarely improves a movie with a remake. When cinematic classics are recreated – no matter how many special effects or star-studded leads there are – directors can never match the perfection of the initial version. Jack Black is a talented actor with many successful movies under his belt, but 2005’s “King Kong” wasn’t one of them. There was a reason that the 1933 version of this ape thriller was a hit – its majesty and timeliness are still unparalleled.

Almost every time we turn on the television or walk into a store the words “new and improved” ring in our ears. What is so new about the hippie trend – the 1960s ended only 40 years ago – or a small, sleek appliance with blades that chop food up (you know which infomercial I am speaking of)? It seems as though our creativity and ability to engender truly original fashions, inventions, and ideas have evaporated.

Even the marketing idiom “new and improved” is almost a contradiction. Your blanket with sleeves isn’t an entirely “new” idea. Countless YouTube videos scathingly suggest it isn’t much of an improvement either. The truth is that even though our world becomes increasingly more advanced and we gain additional outlets to information, it isn’t always necessary to “fix something that ain’t broke.”

Jane Austen would probably have a sense of humor if she heard the new take on her beloved novel, but the addition of zombie-ninjas to the Bennett family would not be considered novel or enhanced to many. While we should ingrain fervent respect for past stories and creations in our ever-expanding quest for knowledge, we have yet to explore the furthest corners of our intellectual capacity. Who knows what great – and original – discoveries might spring from challenging ourselves to investigate the unknown?

Greetings, I am Judith Schomp and I have started a blog to update those not at my university on my op-ed pieces that have been published (i.e. Texas Christian University’s The Daily Skiff). Thanks for reading!

Enjoy,

Judith Schomp