It has been an eventful year at The Lookout, no doubt.
Campus renovations have progressed, the LCC pool was closed, major elections were held, new dining options were installed, and STARFest has come and gone. In the midst of all these changes, The Lookout has added six new editors to its staff, and some of us traded job positions.
I have learned many things this year beyond the scope of journalism. Most of all, I learned, like everyone else, I have a limit to how much stress I can handle.
As an individual, I’ve experienced my share of changes this year as well. I published my debut novel, switched my major, leased my first apartment, and made many new friends.
To top it off, I received The Lookout employee of the year award during LCC’s Student Recognition Dinner, something I’ve strived to achieve since I started at the newspaper three years ago.
I plan on returning to The Lookout in the 2013 fall semester in some capacity. In the meanwhile, I will be posting more articles online during the summer and editing my second novel, Red Widow.
I will miss the editors who will be moving on from LCC: Joe Israel, Mark Gillengerten and Sarah Spohn. At the same time, I look forward to working with those who will return next year.
As a staff, I think we’ve done a great job despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, especially the confusing and often last-minute nature of covering breaking news. However, there’s always a need for improvement, and we will work on our shortcomings.
After being at The Lookout for three years, I feel as though I’ve learned everything there is to know about journalism, although Larry has probably called me “dummy” too many times for that to be true.
We will be looking for some new writers to add to our staff for the fall and spring semesters, so if you have a knack for journalism, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Heck, I started out with zero experience in journalism and made it pretty far, albeit with a lot of healthy criticism.
Now it’s time to return to my studies and prepare for my CompTIA certification exam.
On the first day of class, you often hear teachers drone on for twenty minutes or so about the severe consequences of cheating. Given that, you don’t often hear about teachers actually cheating for their students. I suppose there’s a first time for everything.
35 Atlanta school district employees, including a former superintendent, were recently found to be falsifying answers for their students on statewide standardized tests. That is, they were boosting their scores, giving the impression that their students were improving when it couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to an article by The Atlantic, Superintendent Beverly Hall is facing some of the most egregious charges among the nearly dozen school administrators and teachers indicted.
Before this cheating scandal unfolded, she was named the former national Superintendent of the Year for the students’ supposedly budding test scores. Let that irony sink in for a moment.
And of course, Hall received more than $500,000 in performance bonuses since the students were doing so well. In the end, it seems the emphasis was placed on achieving the target goal for test scores rather than educating children.
It’s profoundly disturbing that so many school employees charged with educating students of the future would rather “fake it” to reap the benefits. Allegedly, some of the employees complied with this criminal conspiracy to protect their jobs.
Whatever the reason was for erasing wrong answers and scribbling down the write ones, they were all spitting in the faces of the students they were supposed to be teaching.
The entire situation leaves me wondering how important it is to continue these standardized tests. Are we placing too much emphasis on them?
Personally, I don’t believe these tests accurately measure educational quality. I performed below average on my ACT during junior year in high school, which supposedly predicts how well I would do in college. After all, it was three days of non-stop testing, filling in bubble sheet after bubble sheet, slowly driving me to the brink of insanity. Come a certain point, I just didn’t care anymore.
Since then, I’ve passed almost every class with a 4.0 or 3.5 and my GPA is well above average.
I don’t quite know what we could replace standardized tests with, but given the pressure facing both the students and teachers now in test scores, I don’t think we can continue along this catastrophic path.
CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rape trial was the nail in the coffin for me. The major media outlets have truly lost all credibility in my eyes.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, Steubenville High School football players Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were found guilty of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl in 2012.
Plenty of evidence of their crimes was provided through the convicts’ text messages, photos and videos, boasting about their actions.
However, their inhuman actions aren’t the only thing prompting outrage from the national community. When the guilty verdict was read, CNN reporter Poppy Harlow seemed to focus on the “promising futures” of these bright star football players who had been handed such a devastating verdict.
Indeed, God forbid anyone pay the consequences for their crimes, especially if they can make a touchdown.
That trial coverage was saturated with footage of the rapists’ families weeping, appeals for forgiveness from the judge, how Mays and Richmond’s lives were falling apart and how difficult it must be for them.
While CNN mourns the lost future of these young rapists, they seem surreally oblivious to the damage inflicted on a girl who was raped and had sexually degrading photos and videos of her posted online.
Personally, I don’t care how young an offender is if they are guilty of such a horrendous crime. If someone makes the conscious choice to rape a vulnerable woman, dump her unconscious body in a basement and proudly post the photos online, there is no hope for them. Being underage is not an excuse.
If you’re that screwed up at the age of 16 or 17 that you revel in the act of rape, frankly you should be put down like an animal, as harsh as that may sound.
What’s even more disgusting is the fact that CNN and Fox News aired the name of the underage victim. But the ridiculousness doesn’t end yet; the CNN reporter Harlow is “outraged” by the criticism she has received for her sympathetic trial coverage.
Instead of mourning the bright futures of these “football stars,” send your prayers and thoughts to the victim. Think of the years of therapy, psychological trauma and humiliation she will endure. Shortly after the guilty verdict was read, she received online threats from some girls threatening to murder her.
I can only shake my head in disbelief and turn off the TV.
The time has come again where I need a break from spouting off about politics, domestic policy and the turmoil overrunning our world. No more natural disasters, political uproars or government sequesters, at least, not for this week.
In fact, many of these topics have been the furthest things from my mind lately. I recently signed a lease for my first apartment for my girlfriend and I. It’s probably the first major step I’ve taken to asserting my own independence and living on my own.
Unfortunately, based on my current budget, all I can afford is monthly rent, bills and food. The luxury of wireless internet and cable will have to wait until I find a higher income.
I’m currently looking for a full-time IT job to better support my independent lifestyle, but these days it’s hard to come by anything without shoving a special degree in an employer’s face to say you’re qualified.
An associates degree doesn’t cut it anymore when every full-time job demands at least three years of experience in its minimum requirements (even when it’s a measly entry level job.)
It’s truly frustrating just how difficult it is to obtain even a mediocre job. Colleges can hand you a degree or a certificate, but it can’t exactly provide you with the experience you need.
And with rising tuition and ridiculously expensive textbooks, it seems more like gaining an education is a matter of how much you can fork over. If you don’t have enough, too bad, you’re going to work at McDonald’s for the rest of your life.
It feels more and more like I’m trapped in a state of limbo, unable to progress, simply waiting to earn my certification, waiting for the right job to open up, waiting for the employer to call…
I’m sick of waiting, even when I’m doing everything in my power to get to the place I want to be. When I picture my life five years later, I’m honestly not sure if I will be in the same situation now or if I will be shuffling between a bunch of part-time jobs.
Oh well, maybe I’ll move to China … once my lease expires.
I recently had the pleasure of reading Victoria Limbert’s novel Lilith, the first installment in the Twin Souls Novels series.
To give you a
brief summary of Lilith, the plot revolves around a woman named Annette
Anderson, who we come to find out is host to two souls (her human soul and that
of the demon Lilith).
When grisly murders with demonic elements begin to
manifest in her town and a detective named Michael petitions her help, Annette
finds herself thrust into the role she thought put behind her ages ago: hunting
down demons who threaten humanity and the balance between the mortal world and
Lilith features a unique protagonist with two souls, an innovative concept I never imagined before. This unusual circumstance makes for some very entertaining dialogue between Annette and her demonic counterpart Lilith.
It was fascinating to watch Annette’s relationship evolve with Michael and see her tugged between a human lover and an infernal lover. The very nature of her half-human half-demon existence creates quite the conflict when it comes to her wants and her desire to protect those from danger--including the significant danger she poses.
Victoria Limbert’s descriptions of otherworlds and its hellish denizens were chilling to the core, especially when it comes to the greater demons and their feral nature. Victoria has a frightfully vivid imagination that is well suited for conjuring a brooding atmosphere that truly leaves you feeling as though you’ve stepped into another dimension.
Lilith’s climax was so startling and intense it took me by
force, which made it all the more engrossing. I always enjoy it when I can’t
predict how a book will end and resolve all the questions swimming in my brain.
When all was done, my head was left in a whirlwind of awe and satisfaction.
I look forward to revisiting Annette’s journeys and reading about how events unfold in Victoria Limbert’s sequel to Lilith: Fateless.
Lilith is available for Kindle for $3.16 on Amazon.com so check it out now!